Transition firmly on track: Rasmussen
A meeting of the National Security Council, chaired by President Hamid Karzai, confirmed on Sunday the second group of Afghan provinces, cities and districts for the switch to Afghan security lead.
"This is another significant step towards our shared goal of an Afghanistan governed and secured by Afghans for Afghans. I congratulate the government and people of Afghanistan on this announcement, the NATO secretary-general said.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement the transition, driven by the determination of the Afghan people and sustained by the courage of their security forces and of ISAF, was firmly on track.
"We will keep our commitment to training and supporting the Afghan security forces throughout the transition process, and beyond," the alliance chief promised.
The NATO senior civilian representative also hailed the announcement. "Transition is on schedule and NATO will continue its efforts to ensure that the Afghans take security responsibility across the country by the end of 2014…"
"Beyond 2014 we aim for a strong and lasting partnership between Afghanistan and its international partners: the end of transition is a stage in a shared journey, not the end of it," Ambassador Simon Gass said.
Meanwhile, ISAF commander Gen. John R. Allen called the transition a reality and a path for the future success of the country and its people.
"There is no doubt that Afghanistan is moving forward, and with the announcement by President Karzai … the Afghan National Security Forces, who have made dramatic improvements in their development and effectiveness, will assume responsibility for security for 50 percent of the Afghan population," he said.
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