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More areas for transition to be named soon

More areas for transition to be named soon

Aug 22, 2011 - 16:19

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Areas for the second phase of transition from foreign troops to Afghan forces would be identified next month, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) announced on Monday.

A joint assessment by NATOinfo-icon soldiers and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, head of the transition commission, was underway, said a spokesman for the alliance's civil representative in Afghanistaninfo-icon, Dominic Medley.

An assessment of the areas would be submitted to the Afghan Cabinet, he told a news conference in Kabul. The Afghan government will declare readiness of the areas at the end of September or October.

The first phase of the transition process that started from Bamyan on July 17 had been completed in Panjsher, Kabul, Mehtarlam, Lashkargah, Herat City and Mazar-i-Sharif.

Addressing a meeting of the National Security Council on July 31, Ahmadzai had said a clear policy on the second, third and fourth phases of transition would be worked out over the next three months.

Also present at the media briefing, an ISAF spokesman said civilian casualties had declined 14 percent in the second quarter of the current year, compared to same period of last year.

Most of the casualties were caused by roadside bombs, planted by the Talibaninfo-icon, Carsten Jacobson, said, calling civilian deaths a tragedy for the alliance. They were trying to minimise such casualties, he continued.

With the summer coming to an end, there was a considerable decrease in attacks by anti-government fighters, the spokesman said. There was about a 20 percent fall, compared to the last half of 2010, he went on.

According to a report of the United Nations, 1,462 ordinary people were killed during the first six months of 2011. About 80 percent of the fatalities were caused by militants, 14 percent by Afghan and international soldiers and six percent by none of the two sides.

The Taliban strongly rejected the report, which said 80 percent of civilians were killed by militants. The main cause of civilian deaths is the NATO-led force, the insurgents insist.


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