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Afghan soldiers in north to get fighter jets

Afghan soldiers in north to get fighter jets

Mar 02, 2011 - 19:21

MAZA-I-SHARIF (PANinfo-icon): An Afghan military commander in the north said on Wednesday they would receive heavy weapons and fighter jets from foreign troops before the process of security transition ends in 2014.

In line with NATOinfo-icon's decision, international forces fighting a Talibaninfo-icon-led insurgency are expected to start handing over the security responsibility to local forces in April.

"We welcome the completion of the transition to an Afghan security lead in 2014," Afghan National Army (ANA) commander, Brig. Gen. Zalmay Weesa, told a press conference in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province.

After provision of heavy weapons and jets, the commander said, they would be ready to maintain security in northern Afghanistaninfo-icon in the absence of foreign forces.

Samangan, Badakhshan and Sari-i-Pul provinces would be the first to be handed over to local forces, Gen. Weesa said, adding they were ready to take over the responsibility.

Weesa said that the Afghan army's strength in the north would reach 15,000 next year. Without providing the current number of ANA soldiers, he said the force would be enough to provide security for nine northern provinces.

Talking about recently concluded search operations in Baghlan province, Weesa said 30 villages had been cleared of militants during a recent offensive.

Twenty insurgents, including two prominent commanders, were killed, 18 injured and another 20 detained, he said of the operation in Baghlan-i-Markazi district.


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