Karzai: Security transfer to Afghan control will start in March
February 7th, 2011
09:10 AM ET

Karzai: Security transfer to Afghan control will start in March

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Sunday that a critical phase in the transfer of security authority from international to domestic forces would begin March 21, a precursor to a planned full handover three years hence.

Karzai made the announcement during a speech at the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of diplomatic and military leaders from Western and other nations.

"We are determined to demonstrate Afghan leadership and ownership of the transition process," he said.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in an interview conducted with conference organizers and posted on its website, explained this move next month marks the start of "a gradual transition to lead Afghan responsibility - province by province, district by district." Thus, Afghans may take over full control in some locales relatively soon, while the process may take much longer elsewhere.

"I'm very optimistic about this timetable leading to Afghan (security) responsibility all over Afghanistan by May 2014," said Rasmussen. "But I have to add, that obviously this development will depend on conditions on the ground."

During his speech, Karzai credited the influx of 70,000 international forces in 2010 for improving the situation and helping Afghan security forces. He frequently mentioned the fight against the al Qaeda terror group, but did not mention the Taliban - which was ousted from power in 2001, for harboring al Qaeda, and has been behind many attacks since.

"We have regained the initiative," Karzai said. "Security in the country is better than it was a year before, and the year before that."

In a letter to troops late last month, U.S. Gen. David Petraeus voiced a similar sentiment, saying the surge "inflicted enormous losses" on militants and weakened terror networks. It came at a steep price: Last year was the deadliest for coalition and U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the war began. There were 708 such troops killed, of which 498 were American service members.

Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, said insurgents were now on the defensive in Afghanistan, and pointed specifically to progress in Kabul, where one-fifth of the Afghan population lives. Still, he cautioned that past success doesn't guarantee a smooth road ahead.

"In sum, 2010 was a year of significant, hard-fought accomplishments," Petraeus wrote. "The year ahead is likely to be a tough one, too."

President Barack Obama has promised to begin a gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan starting in July, a pledge he reiterated during his recent State of the Union address.

During the speech Sunday, Karzai also acknowledged issues of corruption in Afghanistan, focusing especially on contracts that fell outside the Kabul government's control. The president outlined efforts to curb abuses, which is the past he said had "undermined the capacity of the state rather than building it."

"With the U.S. and NATO, we're overhauling the system to make contracting an instrument of good rather than bad governance," he said.

By 2015, Karzai predicted that Afghanistan will have "binding agreements with the United States and long-term partnerships with NATO" - noting that the shift in security responsibility does not mean a clean break with international forces that have been engaged there for nearly a decade.

As to NATO's role, the current head of the military and political Western alliance said he expected that some of its troops may still be in Afghanistan even after 2014.

"I ... foresee a continued international presence, beyond the date when our combat mission ends, with the aim to assist the Afghans," Rasmussen said.

Karzai closed his speech Sunday by again thanking other nations for committing financial resources to Afghanistan, as well as the human sacrifice many have made. And he urged them to continue to help, claiming Afghan's prosperity and security was vital to the interests of the region and the world.

"Some journey is left and that journey will not be easy," Karzai said. "But it's a journey worth taking."

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soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Seth T

    From the picture it looks like one of his fingernails pulled off with a pare of pliers?

    February 11, 2011 at 2:58 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rusty 1522*** USMC 1954-1962

    It's obvious that some of the Turds who have commented on here know nothing about the purpose that the USMC serves or what the USMC stands for. Here's the deal: Let's let them enlist and they all will be assigned to the same Boot Camp Platoon.We'll call this platoon "The Turd Troop". I'll glady break out my old DI uniform and serve as their Senior Drill Instructor.

    February 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • USAF

      More right-wing bla-bla-bla. How old it gets!!! Did you hear about those bozoes who are sets of brothers going into Afghanistan together and how they're being belly-hooed??? Corny,isn't it?

      February 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Wife

      Rusty 1522 - I'm a USMC Wife, Daughter & Granddaughter and I say "Ooh rah!!" to you and say let these turds face The Hat! Yut! Semper Fi, Marine!

      February 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan from Detroit, MI

        Are you trying to say that we have a right to occupy Afghanistan? Did the Germans have a right to occupy France and Poland during WW2? Somehow I think you're wrong on both counts! No country has a right to occupy another,I say!!!

        February 10, 2011 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Very true, no country has the right to occupie another country. We fought WWII to defend this principle, but now they forgot, as they succeded in the past and now like the wars too much, and cannot live without .

        February 11, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dan from Chicago,IL

    We have helped governments in South America with anti-drug operations but that is all.

    February 8, 2011 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Tell your lies to the pèeople of South America, Dominican republic, Costarica, Nicaragua.....

      February 8, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan from Chicago,IL

        Your not worthy enough to live in America. Your anti-American and most probably an Islamic extremist. I hope that they have tracked your butt and know your every move, because of people like you we need to keep our eyes out for!

        February 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Dan – You are anti-america as 63% of americans are contrarian to war in Afghanistan like me. You are anti-american becouse you supported military operations wich caused the 9/11 attack and the death of 3000 americans, plus the other over 6000 died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        February 9, 2011 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dan from Chicago,IL

    Who are you to speak for Costa Rica? We supported Nicaragua's rebels who wanted freedom and democracy and we will support all who do if possible!

    February 8, 2011 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      I travelled and listen the news. I sow anti-american sentiment in many countries. US partecipated in military operations in South America, even in Dominican Republic.

      February 8, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan from Chicago,IL

        You truly are just plain and simple STUPID!

        February 8, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        I simply refer what the people feeling toward USA. Americans are among the only few countries committing war crimes without any possibility to process them, and they are in the top of the graduatory.

        February 8, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dan from Chicago,IL

    That is the only reason why salerno and the rest of the Islamic extremists hate our foreign policy!

    February 8, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Dan – American foreign pèlicy is hatred in Costarica, Nicaragua, Lebanon, Serbia, Iraq, Egypt. It is not a problem of religion as the americans pkilled also the christians In South America, Lebanon, Serbia and Iraq.

      February 8, 2011 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        read policy and killed.

        February 8, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan from Chicago,IL

        When did America go into South America? And what Christians were killed in Lebanon or Iraq? As for Serbia they were killing Muslims in their ethnic cleansing campaign. Also in Lebanon we were there as a peace keeping force and the terrorist group Hezbollah bomb our barracks then we left. We were not a fighting force and never did we kill Christians!

        February 8, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Dan – Reagan bombed Lebanon villages. Unfortunately there were christians too.
        In Serbia Clinton Bombed civilians in the TV building and in the train. They could simply have bombed the railway to avoid transport of weapons), but they preferred to kill INNOCENT CHRISTIANS.
        So you are a liar and a false christian.

        February 8, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan from Chicago,IL

        Reagan never bombed Lebanon period! And the train incident may have been a mistake, I am sure we would not have gone out to kill innocent people traveling on a train, maybe they thought they were transporting arms. Like I said Jesus will judge all nations and I am sure America's true colors will fly like an eagle! And as I said you do not know me or how great my faith is and to call me what you just did just shows me how ignorant you are!

        February 8, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Reagan bombed Lebenese villages from a ship. Do a little search. You killed christians in Serbia instead of hitting the railway.

        February 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dan from Chicago,IL

    Is it not a shame that we support the Israeli's because of their freedom's and democracy and not the Muslim world so much because all they want to do is kill the Jewish people for coming back to their promised land of milk and honey that God had brought them to out of Egypt?

    February 8, 2011 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Jewish people were defeated by the Romans. The muslims had good relations with them, as they lived in the muslims countries wiithout the problems of persecutions they had in Europe caused by the christians (Spain, France, UK , Germany).
      The problem is when they deported the palestinians.

      February 8, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan from Chicago,IL

        Why don't you get the hell out of America since you hate our policies so much and live in Iran where it seems you would be greatly welcomed?

        February 8, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        They can think I am a spy. The tension created is not helping.

        February 11, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dindy..

    salerno..... after 1989 ..what happened ? As far as I know they helped Kuwait, North Korea and they were not successful in Vietnam.

    February 8, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • salerno

      Bush and Clinton pretended to control the world without the UN approval.

      February 8, 2011 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. salerno

    America is a good country with many good people. The problem is foreign policy, especially after 1989, and military operations.

    February 8, 2011 at 8:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dindy..

    May God bless the people who looked after me while I was far away from home and family!!!

    February 8, 2011 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
  10. Dindy..

    Afghanistan should be able to take care of their own land and the official army must respond if evil take place.

    February 7, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. salerno

    This is american hypocrisy: they simulate to be pro-people, pro-democracy, while supporting dictatorship oppressing the people.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Very well put,salerno. Thank you.

      February 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Daniel-2

    Is that right? Somehow I don't think so. The right-wing thugs in Washington never want to give up control anywhere,including Egypt. They have a good puppet in this Hosni Mubarak and they fear that if he goes,they'll lose control there and that they don't want!

    February 7, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • LarryKegel(US Army)

      Good posting,Daniel. You know where it's at. Thank you.

      February 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |