ISAF base being handed to Afghan forces
MAIMANA (PAN): An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) military base worth id="mce_marker"00 million is being transferred to Afghan forces in northern Faryab province, officials said on Tuesday.
An agreement in this regard was reached between defence ministers of Norway and Lithonia and the 209th Shaheen Military Corps commander in Faryab.
The facility has been constructed by Norway over more than 25 acres of land near the airport in Maimana, the provincial capital.
The 209th Shaheen Military Corps commander Brig. Gen. Noor Mohammad Hamid said foreign troop had started vacating the base as of today.
He said an Afghan National Army (ANA) battalion stationed in neighbouring Sar-i-Pul province would be moved to the base once it was officially handed over to Afghan forces.
However, he said the foreign troops would not leave behind their weapons and armoured vehicles for Afghan forces.
The base has the capacity of accommodating 700 soldiers and has enough space for parking vehicles and placing equipment, the commander said.
Governor Ahmad Faisal Baigzad thanked Norway and Lithonia for executing reconstruction projects and ensuring security in the province. He hoped the two countries would continue to assist Afghanistan in diverse fields of life.
Norwegian defense minister Espen Barth Eide said the transfer did not mean an end to their cooperation with the Afghan government, especially with the people of Faryab.
Both the Norwegian and Lithonia defence ministers said Afghan security forces were being trained by their soldiers and they had improved a lot to take charge of maintaining security on their own.
About 500 Norwegian and Lithuanian soldiers have been deployed to Faryab. Of them, 10 soldiers have been killed so far.
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