Helmand ready for second round of transition: officials
The second phase of the transition is said to target some districts in Badakhshan, Badghis, Ghazni, Helmand, Herat, Kabul, Ghor, Laghman, Maidan Wardak and Nangarhar.
In Badakhshan, the provincial capital, Faizabad, Shahr-i-Buzurg, Yaftale Sufla, Arghanchkhwa, Baharak, Tishkan, Kishm and Argu districts are expected to change hands.
Qala-i-Naw, the capital of Badghis, and Aab Kamari district, Ghazni City, Nawa district of Helmand, Herat province, excluding Shindand, and Chasht-e-Sharif districts, Sarobi district of Kabul and Chaghcharan, the capital of Ghor, are also due for the switch.
The Qarghayee district of Laghman, Behsud, Kama, Khewa and Surkhrod districts and Jalalabad in Nangarhar, the Hesaye Awal and Hesaye Daum districts and capital of Maidan Wardak will also change hands.
Helmand is one of the insecure provinces in southern Afghanistan. The security responsibility for Helmand's capital, Lashkargah, was transferred to local forces four months back, but some major security incidents had taken place since then.
Based on Pajhwok reports, 100 government officials and civilians suffered casualties since Afghan security forces assumed the security responsibility.
Helmand governor Mohammad Gulab Mangal said militants were trying to disrupt the transition process in Lashkargah. However, he hoped the plan would be successfully implemented.
He said Afghan security forces were doing their best to maintain better security for residents. According to Mangal, Nad Ali and Nawa districts were all set for the second phase of the security transition. By the end of 2014, the entire province would be controlled by local forces, he said.
Helmand police chief Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hakim Angar, also said security personnel were ready to assume the responsibility, arguing a decline in crimes and security incidents compared the past indicated that the security situation was improving in the province.
A tribal elder from Nad Ali district, Abdul Ahad Helmandwal, said the process could be a success if local security officials showed sincerity and managed to win the hearts and minds of people.
Hajji Mirza, a resident of Lashkargah city, said local residents backed the security switch because foreign soldiers were not familiar with their culture and they were unhappy with night time operations.
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