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NATO, US welcome announcement that Afghan forces will take greater security role


This news story was published on December 31, 2012.
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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, right, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center, and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-moon, right, meet with NATO counterparts and other members who comprise the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, Monday, May 21, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Keri Wiginton/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, right, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center, and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-moon, right, meet with NATO counterparts and other members who comprise the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, Monday, May 21, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Keri Wiginton/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan forces are set to take on a greater role in Afghanistan’s security and peacekeeping, it was announced.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday that “It is another sign of steady progress that the Government of Afghanistan has announced the fourth tranche of the transition process. I congratulate President Karzai, his national security team, and the Afghan National Security Forces for their commitment to taking even more of a lead role for the security of the Afghan people.”

Most foreign troops are set to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

“This step demonstrates the success of our strategy and the progress that the men and women of ISAF, working closely with our Afghan partners, are achieving every day in Afghanistan,” Panetta continued. “As part of this fourth phase of transition, Afghan security forces will have lead responsibility for the safety of 87 percent of the Afghan population, which is a strong indicator that Afghanistan is on the path to full self-governance.”

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the announcement Monday.

“I welcome President Karzai’s announcement of the fourth group of Afghan provinces, cities and districts to undergo transition in the coming months. With this decision, the Afghan security forces will be taking the lead for security for 87% of the Afghan population and 23 of the 34 Afghan 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. It is the result of the progress we have made together, and thanks to the courage and resolve of the Afghan people, the Afghan forces and our ISAF troops and trainers. The Afghan army and police are steadily growing in capacity and confidence. They already lead the vast majority of operations, are responsible for most of the training, and are highly trusted by the Afghan people.

“We will continue to support our Afghan partners throughout the transition process. After our combat mission is completed at the end of 2014, we will remain committed to Afghanistan, with a new mission to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces, which we are currently planning.”

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