November 19th, 2010
01:01 PM ET

Official: Transition to Afghan control could start in early 2011

The U.S. and NATO allies are looking to turn two or three Afghanistan provinces over to Afghan control by June of next year, with "several more" in the in the summer or fall, according to a senior NATO
official.

While the plan is still a rough estimate of transition, the picture of how Afghans will begin to take over security by as early as March 2011 in some areas is beginning to emerge as NATO leaders and Afghan President Hamid Karzai
meet in Lisbon for meetings on the war.

Officials say there is no set goal to define "success," but the expectation is that some provinces would be handed over even before the U.S. deadline to begin removing some troops from Afghanistan.

Some those targeted for first transition include the relatively calm
provinces of Parwan, Bamiyan, Panjshir, CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara
Starr reported earlier this week.

"We've identified several small clusters of provinces" that would be
turned over in order of their readiness, a NATO official in Lisbon said Friday.

Ahead of the turnover, NATO forces will likely add troops and equipment in an effort to jolt them into readiness.

"As some of these provinces are identified as eligible for transition, we
may temporarily pour extra resources into those areas. It would be to help plug
any gaps, and sort of push them over the tipping point," a senior defense
official said. He mentioned money, manpower and other resources as things
that could be sent in temporarily.

A part of the transition planning is "adjusting the threshold" for what areas are ready to transition, according to a U.S. official.

The official said that in some parts of Afghanistan, like the heavily
fought areas in the east, the threshold for transition could be lowered for
consideration of handover. The operating phrase, the official said, is "Afghan
good enough?"

The criteria for a handover is being presented to NATO leaders in Lisbon, a senior NATO official said.

Readiness for transition will be assessed on a number of fronts including
security, resilience of the local government, resolution of significant tribal
disputes, no concern of a warlord who will try to assert control over the local
government and a check on corruption, the official said.

The process of moving a province from control of international forces to local control could take between 18 months and two years.

Security transfer will be conducted in a very similar process as the
Balkans and Iraq, according to a senior NATO official.

The official explained that the strategy starts with partnering and then
mentoring, before moving to a tactical over-watch where Afghans do the
operations while NATO forces observe. The final two steps is limited to Afghans
planing while NATO observes and consults and, then finally, where the NATO
involvement is mostly limited to helping plan strategy but the Afghans are
ready to independently plan and conduct the operations.

The transition planning is not just about security, but rather "for all functions of government, security and governance and development," said the official.

Some of initial provinces to be handed over are being described as a "pilot program" but the understanding is that once handed over, the process is not reversible, the official said. No announcement will be made until the transition process is under way.

Neither NATO nor the Afghan government will have unilateral decision-making power, when it comes to deciding which provinces are handed back to Afghan control, the senior defense official said. That decision has to be worked out within a committee made up of NATO allies and Afghans.

The meetings in Lisbon will aim for a long term agreement to be signed by
NATO countries and Afghanistan that will spell out "long-term participation" by
NATO in Afghanistan, according to another senior NATO official.

"We all know Afghanistan is going to need our support for many years to
come," the official said.

One area they will need long-term support is training and paying for the 300,000 security forces that will be recruited and trained over the next few years. The senior NATO official said that Afghanistan will not be able to pay \for those forces on its own until 2023.

"We want to be able to fund this," the official said.

soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Dindy.....

    GOOD POST MATT.

    November 24, 2010 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. future Marine

    MQ-1 Predator with two hellfire missles. How appropriate- fires in hell is exactly what youll experience after your death.

    November 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kandy Anderson

    I watched a show a few days ago showing the Korengal Valley and the other name the soldiers have given it as the Valley of Death. The soldiers assigned to this area the report said were showing signs of depression and that some could not even venture to talk about their experiences there. With this area being obviously important to the U.S. to control why not change the geographic structures of the valley to make it harder for the taliban to hide out. It's certainly food for thought. And the American soldiers certainly must have the weapons of capability for such a geographic change. Just a thought that went through my head when I saw the show focusing on Sal Junta's rescue of one of his buddies from the Taliban.

    November 21, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Who asked you? This war stinks and you know it!!!

      November 22, 2010 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Vitriolic.

        November 22, 2010 at 6:12 am | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        I see that you're still belittling our troops over there Phunnie boy,blogging under my name. You're not funny nor are our troops a joke. If you have such little respect for our armed forces,kindly keep it to yourself!

        November 22, 2010 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Flaccid.

        November 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Kandy Anderson...
      Good post.

      November 24, 2010 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ednkentuck

    Officials say there is no set goal to define "success," – how true! The only way the US will ever define success is when we have a comprehensive energy policy that targets specific goals such as energy independence. As long as the Oil Lobby continues to have their "growth industry", we will be involved in the Middle East; be it Afghanistan or elsewhere.

    November 20, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      Whenever the Afghans stop chanting "Allah Akbar" and then start chanting "Allah Akbar,but Capitalism,Akber-er" then the NATO countries will feel that they've been "successful".

      November 20, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Pointless.

        November 21, 2010 at 4:34 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Diese Zeit bemerkt Ulkiger Knabe under dem Name des Bozos. Sehr klug!

    November 20, 2010 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Ausscheidungkopf.

      November 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. craig michael

    I do see your point. But I think we both know the US is going to be around there for a while. But it would great to read more from you.. if you can stomach it?

    November 19, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John Brooks ( US Marines)

    Being here in Afghanistan I see first hand that we serve no real purpose here at all. This war is a waste of lives and resources. The big corporations are already here mapping out the large deposits of iron, copper and lithium so they can make billions when we are gone. The people here have been under Taliban rule for over 50years and will revert back to that way of life when we are gone. This is just another Viet Nam only in the desert. The sooner we get home the better.

    November 19, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      Very well stated,John. Thank you.

      November 20, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Toady.

        November 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • marcindc

      Having had a career in the military, I don't believe for one second that you are a United States Marine. What's your rank and MOS? You sound more like a poser who is claiming to be a US Marine because you know you don't have credibility for your simplistic and stereotypical leftist comments. That's also some perspective and grasp you have on history and world events. The people here have been under Taliban rule for a whole 50 years so nothing will change? The evil corporations are mapping out mineral deposits to steal billions? Afghanistan is a Vietnam in the desert? Your inane and unsupported comments suggest you are probably more like a 12, 13th or 14th grader repeating the talking points you hear from others. Marine commanders, the Commander in Chief, the Secretary of State, and former Presidents of both parties don't share your opinions about Afghanistan. You’re not fooling anybody except those as delusional as yourself with your simple conclusions about complicated issues. You sound like you would be a great spokesman for the Taliban though.

      November 21, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Bullseye!

        November 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • matt

        give it... seriously, no one wants a poser. Give your squad, company, etc. anything to identify you by.

        November 23, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....

        marcindc ........may be some one else posted under Brook"s name

        November 25, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • BANGASH

      You are great for having the courage to say the truth specially being a US Marine your views reflect your true love for your homeland. Afghan soil has two centuries history of such attacks and occupation but here every invader has been buried and then their Empires have fallen. Same is going to happen here and JOHN being a true son of his mother land has tried to avoid this humiliation. In Vietnam whole nation was fighting against Americans while in Afghanistan so far only 20% have been fighting against USA and you see where NATO/USA stand today in this nine years long war. What will be the result if whole Afghans and Pakistanis joined this war?

      November 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Is this your post really John Brooks (US marine)???

      November 24, 2010 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. Jim_Schaebauer

    Do not listen to Mason Mehring. I (not him) am the most proficient brown noser that ever lived! How can I get away doing nothing all day if I wasn't? How come my co-workers call me Jimmy Shaftbobber if I wasn't? Email me to congratulate my brown nosing abilities Jim dot Schaefbauer at corelinksolutions dot com.

    November 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. craig michael

    I'd like to respond to Mr. Brooks, as he seems to be the one today who is at least attempting to come up with solutions. And my response is Mr. Brooks is that you can no more rid the world of radicalism, whether Islamic or otherwise, than you could permanently eliminate those conditions that facilitate it, namely, instability. I think you hav a strong point to say that Muslims have more to fear from the radicalists than they ever will from us, at least on the level of domestic violence. On the other hand overall we have to acknowledge that it is our presence, among others, as international players that has contributed to the instability as much as anything esle. People like yourself are in the process of trying to fix this. But given our history, even prior to 9/11, under what pretense would that be perceived as by a would be ally, or at least potentially stable territory such as Afghanistan?

    November 19, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Marcus in Greensboro, NC

    I hope they follow through, because we need to get out of that pit over there. We have put so much money in that pit that will change when they want it to change. We never should have went over there, and I am happy it is coming to an end. I hope sooner than 2014 too.

    November 19, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Marcus in Greensboro ,Nc.....good post.

      November 27, 2010 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. labandme

    What a joke. As if those cavemen will be able to look after three provinces. When we're gone they'll be right back to living in Bedrock and stoning the unfortunate. And our young men and women are dying for that. It's terrible.

    November 19, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Ambivalent.

      November 19, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John Brooks ( US Marines)

    If they analyze the situation as thoroughly as they should, Muslims will realize they are the first targets. What are the fundamentalists really after? Simply taking over Afghanistan and killing Americans is not the answer. We must rid the world of all radical Muslims.

    November 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

      Are you really that ignorant John,or are you just trying to be funny? Anybody with half a brain knows that the NATO countries are there to exploit the natural resources of Afghanistan.

      November 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • John

        No Bubba,I was just trying to add a little humor to this grim subject. Does anybody think that I'm actually that dumb???

        November 19, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        YES!

        November 19, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • SJ

        Just another inbred southerner

        November 19, 2010 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sanity

        HAHAHAHAHA exploit the natural resources of Afghanistan??????????????? Oh please, enlighten me as to what resources they have...I was there for 6 months, and the only thing i saw was dust, rocks, and sand. Perhaps you are referring to the tiny bit of cadium (helps makes batteries) deposits they have.

        November 22, 2010 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
      • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

        Haven't you heard Sanity,about the $1T plus worth of "recently discovered" minerals underground over there? Why else would the right-wing thugs in Washington send troops to Afghanistan? The same reason we invaded Iraq except for their oil instead.

        November 22, 2010 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
      • Sanity

        Last time i checked, we have a Left-wing President that has sent a troop surge to Afghanistan, not right wing thugs as you say, your argument is flawed.

        November 22, 2010 at 8:37 am | Report abuse |
      • matt

        Another conspiracy theorist. When did NATO start exploiting natural resources? Never. And NATO's on its way out anyway.

        November 23, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Poignant.

      November 19, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dindy.....

      Jhon Brooks....(US Marine)
      Sir... it is no point playing a harp near a deaf elephants. They think that they will survive while other die. But the human bombs have no mercy when they blow off. We as Sri lankans have experienced it well. One woman delivered a baby and her head was gone with the blast and people took her half body to Hospital and took the baby out . The people who are with these fundamentalists are as sick as them and dreaming of Paradise . What happened here at the end to Leader who trained suicide Bombers. He lost his children too. He died too and no one was there to rescue him at the end. People must speak to each other and must fine a solution than killing all over the world. These extremist have been tricked by Devil. His one way of cheating on people is ..Devil make one believe that she or he is so Holy and superior than others. So the others are filthy or nothing. Or pretending God choosen but nothing. All these Ideas are from Devil.
      Because...it says in the Bible our highest holiness is still a rug compare to God"s Holiness. ...

      November 24, 2010 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. fdf

    just more left wing propaganda

    November 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Is that right,Phunnie boy???

      November 20, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Confused!

        November 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    The way of Jesus CHRIST will rule for 1000 years and all sinners who have not repented for what they have done will in the end, come back from the dust and have their final chance to become one with God! IF again they want to hold hatred in their hearts for some one or different people they will then die young and find themselves in the final battle with GOD and thousands of His angels!

    November 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. future Marine

    How can you call hindus racist? Jesus, grow up. Hypocrite.

    November 19, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • atal

      Islam=Peace You must be joking oh foolish one!

      November 21, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • matt

      Jesus was opposed to certain teachings of the Jewish faith, but let me remind you that he himself was Jewish. He never opposed the hindus. Also, the Hindus do not think of themselves as gods, they are just polytheistic. Even so, we are supposed to tolerate other religions. True Islam preaches peace and tolerance, not your twisted genocidal version. Bin Laden is almost as bad as Hitler.

      November 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  16. BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

    Is that a fact or just some more right-wing mumbo-jumbo from the same old thugs??? They keep saying the same things over and over again.

    November 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe

      Constipated?

      November 19, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • BUBBA--ALABAMA STYLE!!!

        No Phunnie boy,I feel pretty good. Do you believe that rght-wing mumbo-jumbo yourself? I guess that they believe it's like Goebbels once said,"tell a lie often enough,people will start to believe it".

        November 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Flatulent?

        November 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • SJ

      u r an inbred son

      November 19, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bledsoe

        Agreed!

        November 20, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |