ANA ready for 2nd phase of transition: Azimi
KABUL (PAN): Ministry of Defence officials on Wednesday said that Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were ready to begin the second phase of the handover of security from foreign troops to Afghan forces.
The first phase of the transition process began in Bamyan on July 17 was extended to Panjsher, Kabul excluding the Sarobi district, Mehtarlam, Lashkargah, Herat City and Mazar-i-Sharif by July 25, 2011.
Speaking at a meeting of the National Security Council, on July 31, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, the head of the transition process, said a clear policy regarding the security handover would be worked out in next three months.
Ghani said that the policy would identify more provinces to be included in the process. The transition was underway along with training and providing equipment to Afghan forces, he said.
Addressing a news conference here on Wednesday, Defence Ministry Spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi said Afghan forces now number about 174,000 and the ministry is working on capacity building.
Although the soldiers would have some problems, their number has increased and they were equipped with weapons as sophisticated as those used by US forces, Azimi said, adding that the Afghan soldiers would try their best to secure the provinces.
At the same press conference, the ministry spokesman said that 90 percent of the ammonium nitrite used by the anti-government insurgents in roadside bombs had been imported from neighbouring Pakistan.
The Afghan government also expressed its worries regarding the importation of ammonium nitrite at the tripartite meeting between Afghanistan, Pakistan and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) last week, he said.
According to the ministry spokesman, 80 percent of the fatalities of the Afghan soldiers had been caused by the roadside bombs planted by anti-government fighters.
Regarding operations against insurgents, Azimi said that as many as 189 Taliban fighters were killed and 380 others arrested since July 23. He said 62 soldiers were killed and 179 wounded over a similar period.
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