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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NATO Takes Over Afghanistan

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- NATO troops assumed command Monday of military operations in volatile southern Afghanistan from the U.S.-led coalition in the latest bid to crush resurgent Taliban forces behind a deadly spike in bloodshed.

But Taliban-led violence flared again when a bomb blast intended for a provincial governor killed eight people Monday at a mosque service. More than 30 Taliban were also killed in clashes Sunday, most in southern provinces where NATO has taken command.

The NATO-led force, made up mostly of British, Canadian and Dutch troops, took over in the south from a U.S.-led anti-terror coalition that was first deployed nearly five years ago to unseat the hard-line Taliban regime, which had harbored Osama bin Laden.

"Today's transfer of authority demonstrates to the Afghan people that there is a strong commitment on the part of the international community to further extend security into the southern region's provinces," Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, commander of U.S.-led coalition forces, said in a NATO statement. The mission is considered the most dangerous and challenging in the Western alliance's 57-year history. It coincides with the deadliest upsurge in fighting in Afghanistan since late 2001 that has killed hundreds of people -- mostly militants -- since May.

The takeover follows three days of intense fighting that left more than 50 Taliban and eight others dead.