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THE MIDEAST

NATO: Insurgent attacks in Afghanistan down 5 percent for year

The international military coalition in Afghanistan says insurgent attacks have decreased 9 percent in August, compared with the same month last year -- a trend that continues a decline after a spike in attacks in May and June.

NATO says the shortened poppy harvest in the spring meant that the usual summer fighting season started earlier.

The alliance's figures show that insurgent attacks then started decreasing in July and that the trend continued through August. Regionally, attacks decreased in the east and south, but increased in the west and north.

Overall, NATO's figures show insurgent attacks are down 5 percent for the year so far, compared with the same period of 2011.