2nd phase of security transition to begin soon: NATO
KABUL (PAN): In order to initiate the second phase of the security transition to Afghan forces, the process of assessing the capability of local forces has been completed and more provinces in this regard would soon be identified, NATO said on Wednesday.
NATO's civilian representative's spokesman, Dominic Medley, told Pajhwok Afghan News they had consulted with Afghan officials and members of the Joint Afghan-NATO Inteqal Board and suggestions and advises discussed during their meetings had been presented to President Hamid Karzai, who would make a decision about the locations and time of the security transfer. However, he did not go into details.
The provinces where the second phase of the security transition process would begin would be indentified by the Afghan government in the next few weeks, he said, adding NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) had completed preparations for the process.
The process would continue as planned without any delay, he said, calling the second phase of the transition a crucial step to see which provinces should be included.
The spokesman said it was premature to identify the targeted provinces. However, it is said that comparatively stable provinces such as Badakhshan, Takhar, Samangan, Nimroz and Ghazni City would be included in the second phase.
Chief of Army Staff Sher Mohammad Karimi has said that provinces for the second phase of the security transfer and the time would be decided according to the security conditions of those provinces.
Medley said NATO was fully confident that the transition could be completed by the end of 2014, adding President Karzai wanted the Afghan National Security Forces to lead the security across the country by 2014.
The first phase of the transition process that started from central Bamyan province on July 17 had been completed in Panjsher, Kabul, excluding Sarobi district, Mehtarlam, Lashkargah, Herat city and Mazar-i-Sharif.
The defence ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi, said Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were ready to keep security for areas to be included in the second phase.
"Afghan security personnel are being equipped and can take the security responsibilities successfully," he added.
Two months ago, head of the transition commission, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, has said that they were working on the second, third and fourth phases of the security transition.
After the completion of the security transition, they would focus on the capacity building, training, equipping local forces and logistics for them, he said.
“Let there be no mistake: transition is not departure. We will not take our leave when the Afghans take the lead,” Medley concluded.
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