Afghan forces take over security charge of Kandahar
Afghan forces have taken over the security responsibility of major parts of the violence-plagued Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan from the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
During a ceremony on Wednesday, the security responsibilities of provincial capital Kandahar city, Dand, Daman and Arghandab districts were formally handed over from the US-led troops to Afghan troops, Xinhua reported.
The transition ceremony was attended by a number of Afghan government and local officials, a number of local tribal elders and several Afghan parliament members.
“I am confident that the national security forces of Afghanistan are capable enough to take over the security charge of the country by 2014 when the NATO-led force complete its pullout,” Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said at the ceremony.
He also called on the international community to assist Afghanistan in providing training and equipment to its security forces, especially in rebuilding its air force.
On Tuesday, Afghan forces assumed the security charge of the central Uruzgan province from Australian troopers as part of the third phase of the national security transition.
Provincial spokesman Abdullah Himat confirmed the handover, saying “at a ceremony today (July 17), the Afghan troops officially took over full security responsibility from Australian troops.”
The developments come as the US-led ISAF is due to pull out the vast majority of its 130,000 forces by the end of 2014.
Insecurity continues to rise across Afghanistan despite the presence of thousands of US-led forces in the war-torn country.
Washington invaded Afghanistan in 2001 under the pretext of combating terrorism.
The US-led war in Afghanistan, which has caused record-high civilian and military casualties, has become the longest military conflict in the American history.