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Aid watchdog warns of 'escalating stalemate' in Afghanistan as attacks increase

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- An organization that keeps track of threats to aid workers in Afghanistan warns of an "escalating stalemate,'' adding the Karzai government is losing its grip on northern parts of the country.

A new report from the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office suggested insurgent forces are growing in areas that have previously been assessed as calm.

The report, released this weekend, said 2011 will likely be the most violent year in the 10-year-old conflict.

The grim assessment coincided with the deadly attack in Takhar province Saturday that killed six, including two German soldiers.

The NATO forces northern commander, as well as the provincial governor were both wounded.

The report noted attacks by "armed opposition groups'' soared 51 per cent in the first three months of this year when compared with the same period in 2011.

NATO officials downplayed the violence overall, pointing out the Taliban have only been able to conduct small-scale suicide assaults that generate a propaganda buzz.

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