Afghans prepare to handle security
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan forces are working to take the lead in safeguarding more parts of the country in line with plans to assume full responsibility for security when most foreign troops withdraw by the end of 2014, President Hamid Karzai's government announced on Monday.
The next phase of the handover of security duties from North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led troops to Afghan soldiers and police will begin in two months and will give the national forces primary responsibility for defending 87 percent of the population, said Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who heads a transition commission set up by the government.
Speaking at a news conference, he dismissed concerns about the readiness of Afghan troops to take on the lead combat role against the Taliban-led insurgency, saying security has improved or remained the same in areas that have made the transition.
“When the enemies of Afghanistan have attacked the Afghan national security forces, they have been defeated,” Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi told reporters at the briefing.
Most of the districts that will be included in the next phase of the transition are located in the north and interior of Afghanistan, with one district in the restive southern province of Helmand. When the handovers are completed at an unspecified date, Afghan security forces will be responsible for 23 of the country's 34 provinces.
“This is a significant step towards our shared goal of seeing Afghans fully in charge of their own security by the end of 2014,” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement.
By next summer, NATO's International Security Assistance Force expects the Afghans to take responsibility for the entire nation, with U.S. and international troops mainly in a support role.
But the challenges were evident from a Pentagon report released in December that said only one of the Afghan army's 23 brigades can operate without international air, logistics and other support.
The U.S. and its allies plan to maintain troops in Afghanistan after 2014 to train, advise and assist the national security forces, but the size of that force is still under discussion.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Thousands in Spain protest ban on demonstrations, burning national flag
- Joy over ties with U.S. spawns migration worry among Cubans
- Shortcomings in governance by Islamic State evident in deteriorating living conditions
- Pope Francis laments world suffering on Christmas
- Father of captured Jordanian begs ISIS for mercy
- Israel approves construction of 243 West Bank homes
- Child says father gave her to Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria
- Al-Shabaab terrorists strike African Union base in Somalia on Christmas
- 2 Saudi women drivers sent to terrorism court
- Lawmakers in Russia propose history rewrites
- North Korean Internet stymied