Afghanis: Next force transition starts in 2 months
Kabul: The next phase of transferring security from NATO to Afghan control will begin in two months and aim to cover nearly 90 percent of the country`s population, the Kabul government announced Monday.
The transition, which began in early 2011, is slated to give Afghan forces full responsibility for security by the end of 2014, when most NATO troops will have withdrawn.
Misgivings persist about the readiness of Afghan forces, although their numbers have grown rapidly over the past year to more than 330,000.
They now shoulder most combat operations, while NATO forces, including some 66,000 US, troops are preparing to pull out. The US intends to keep a residual force in Afghanistan past 2014 but the size has yet to be determined.
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who heads a transition commission, told a news conference that Afghan security forces now are responsible for protecting 75 percent of the population.
"The general assessment is that security is better or the same," Ahmadzai said. The third transition phase began in May and ended today.
He said that by the end of the fourth phase, the duration of which is open-ended, 87 percent of the people will be protected by Afghan forces.
Targeted for the upcoming transition are 12 provinces, mostly in the north and central regions, as well as a district in the southern province of Helmand, the most violent in the country.
Gen John R Allen, commander of foreign forces in the country, called the announcement "another historic step as (Afghanistan) gets closer to taking full responsibility for security of the entire country."
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh said in a statement that it was a "significant step toward our shared goal of seeing Afghans fully in charge of their own security by the end of 2014."
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Highlights - India vs England 2nd ODI in Cuttack
- DNA: Manish Sisodia faces CBI probe over alleged irregularities in 'Talk To AK' programme
- Donald Trump to be sworn in as 45th US President today
- Barack Obama thanks Americans for making him a 'better man'
- Exclusive: Srinagar freezes at minus 3; common man struggles for basic commodities
- WATCH: MS Dhoni asks Jasprit Bumrah to go easy after he hurriedly ran out England skipper Eoin Morgan
- WATCH: How MS Dhoni saved Yuvraj Singh's wicket with another successful DRS review
- Accused of Muslim-bias on visa applications, Sushma Swaraj hits back
- India vs England: After Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar gives Piers Morgan cricketing gyan
- Donald Trump's Inauguration Day: As it happened