Badakhshan security transitions to Afghan control
FAIZABAD (PAN): The security responsibility for Faizabad, the capital of northeastern Badakhshan province, and eight districts was handed over to Afghan forces at a special ceremony on Tuesday.
Security Transition Commission Chairman Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Ground Forces Commander at Ministry of Defence Gen. Murad Ali Murad and other high-ranking officials attended the ceremony in Faizabad.
The capability of Afghan forces had been strengthened enough to maintain security for the province on their own, Ahmadzai said in his address. However, he insisted people's cooperation with police was vital to durable peace in the province.
After the transition, work on the Shurabak hydroelectric dam would be launched with support from Germany, he promised, saying the facility was being constructed on the Kukacha River at a cost of 50 million euros (3.1 billion afghanis).
Also speaking on the occasion, Gen. Murad said people had no cause for concern over the security handover as Afghan soldiers were well-equipped and would be further strengthened with time.
"Foreign soldiers should no more keep security for us; instead residents of Badakhshan should help local police in this regard," said Governor Shah Waliullah Adib.
However, residents expressed their worries about security, saying the existing number of Afghan soldiers could not guard the border with Pakistan. "I am concerned because Pakistan has a long border with Badakhshan," resident Mohammad Din Khwahani said.
"I am happy that Afghan soldiers have taken the security responsibility, but am worried about security problems," said Arzo, a student.
Around 400 German soldiers are based in the remote mountainous province. Local officials say the foreign troops are stationed in Faizabad, where they train Afghan soldiers and rarely participate in military operations.
The second phase of security transition started on December 1, 2011 in the central province of Parwan. When completed, the second phase will see 50 percent of the country's security responsibility transferred to Afghan lead.
During the current phase, Faizabad, Shahr-i-Buzurg, Yaftal Sofla, Arghanchkhwa, Baharak, Tishkan, Kishm and Argu districts of Badakhshan transitioned 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.
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