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The more pessimistic view is that the Afghan forces won’t be up to the task.

The joint international and Afghan force is fighting a losing battle, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement marking the 11th anniversary of the start of the war. Mr. Mujahid claims the Taliban have infiltrated the Afghan forces and are responsible for the rash of insider attacks that have left more than 50 U.S. and NATO forces dead at the hands of their would-be Afghan partners so far this year.

“Right now, the foreigners are in a position where they are just trying to escape,” Mr. Mujahid said.

Associated Press writer Kathy Gannon in Islamabad contributed to this report.