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    Plan to boost Afghan forces being discussed: Ahmadzai

    AIBAK (PAN): A plan for training, equipping and supporting Afghan forces is being discussed with ministries of defence, interior and National Directorate of Security (NDS), the security transition commission head said on Thursday.

    "Afghan military forces will be equipped with sophisticated weapons, armoured and modern tanks," Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai told officials in northern Samangan province on Wednesday.

    Ahmadzai has been to the province to observe security situation and discuss problems with local officials.

    He said the forces would be equipped under a programme called "Koh Ahan, to be implemented at the cost of $2.5 million ($121.4 afghanis).

    The equipment including armoured items and 600 vehicles will be arriving in the country in the near future, Ahmadzai said, adding the Afghan government had discussed with the US the handover of all the equipment to Afghan soldiers before they leave the country.

    Speaking about training the Afghan soldiers, he said work on a military academy was underway in Qargha area of Kabul city, where 16 training faculties would be established. The academy would cost $250 to complete, Ahmadzai added.

    Also speaking on the occasion, Governor Khairullah Anush said the security situation in Samangan had improved due to people's support with the government.

    "I see no problem in launching the second phase of the security transition," he said, asking the central government to concentrate on power supply and construction of roads, schools and water dams in the province.

    The second phase of the security transition from international troops to Afghan forces has started from central Parwan province on December 1.

    During the phase, Faizabad, Shahr-i-Buzurg, Yaftal Sofla, Arghanchkhwa, Baharak, Tishkan, Kishm and Argu districts of the remote northern province of Badakhshan will also be handed to Afghan forces.

    The Aab Kamari district of Badghis, Nawa, Nad Ali and Marja in Helmand, Herat province -- excluding Shindand, Oba and Chisht Sharif -- Qarghayee in Laghman and Behsud, Kooz Kunar and Surkh Rod in Nangarhar will also change hands.

    When implemented, the second phase of transition will see 50 percent of the country transferred to the Afghan security lead.

    The first phase that started from Bamyan province on July 17 has been completed in Panjsher, Kabul, excluding Sarobi district, Mehtarlam, Lashkargah, Herat City and Mazar-i-Sharif.

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