March 22nd, 2011
07:22 AM ET

7 areas to begin handover to Afghan forces in July

Seven areas of Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul and a city in the restless province of Helmand, will begin to be handed over to Afghan forces to maintain their security in July, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday.

The announcement from the president marks the first step in NATO's long-awaited plan to hand over security to a series of provinces across the country, leading up to 2014 when it is expected that Afghan security forces will be in control of the whole country.

Members of NATO applauded the announcement.

"This represents the next stage of Afghanistan's journey," said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. "We are committed not to leave any security vacuum that could breed extremism."

The "transition is a process. It is not flipping a switch. Certainly Afghans will be in the lead but we are still here and will still help," said Lt. Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for NATO's International Security Assistance Force.

He said the decision to begin transitioning Lashkar Gah, an area in Helmand province, was a "testament to the progress made in the south."

Southern regions such as Kandahar and Helmand provinces have long been major fronts in the war against the Taliban.

In speech last month, Karzai talked about this upcoming transition. During that speech, Karzai credited the influx of 70,000 international forces in 2010 for improving the situation and helping Afghan security forces.

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

– CNN's Matiullah Mati and journalist Nick Paton Walsh contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Afghan security forces • Helmand • Kabul • Karzai
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. pamiri

    It is good that Afghans should hold their own security, but we have still a lot of challenges, like Taliban is there and also ministry of defense is Talibanized, because defense ministry is involved of most Pashtuns, who think like Taliban and recently have seen that they ANA is behaving with people like Taliban, in a small issue they are beating people, for example one day someone’s truck was slipped downside of the road and when we wanted to take it out of the mud by crane the ANA (they were Pashtuns) came, without any talking and asking they started beating of people who were trying to take the car out of mud and they were saying that Taliban is good that killing and beating people, like this many many events happened in the country, when you go to their high authority for persecutions they just ignoring you and warning you, they behave same as Taliban, we think now the country is not ready to take the control, Because Taliban has influence in ANA, first you should have impartial ANA than you can hand over the complete control to Afghans, otherwise that would be an irreparable compensations for all international communities!!! We believe its also the part of how to empowering Taliban by Karzai!

    From Kabul

    March 22, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan from Chicago, IL

      I believe that the ANA and ANP along with the people of Afghanistan will keep the Taliban and their terrorist allies at bay and if they cannot get them under control NATO is just around the corner and will show them no mercy as Karzai might!

      March 22, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |

      Afghans feel proud when speaking like an Afghan, not as Northern Afghan. Ahmad Shah Masood lived as an Afghan not as Northern Afghan otherwise he had every mean to create Northern Afghanistan. Unfortunately you few SAAG SHOI(in Afghanistan puppets of USA among Afghans) today in alliance with USA are mainly responsible for destroying Afghan national unity and integrity, by putting this world support against terrorism on wrong track by targeting the major and main ruling Pukhtoon tribe in the name of Taliban, ignoring the fact that more then 80% of Pukhtoon neither supported Taliban-Alqaida way of war, nor even support today. Pamiri remember you few from the North with support of whole world, have badly failed in fight with just 20% of what you blame as Pukhtoon Taliban therefore be Afghan, leave dependence on foreigners and work for the integrity of Afghanistan where every one of you have a lot to live with honor and dignity. This Dan and DINDY are probably immigrants with some foreign agenda against USA and they probably wish to see Americans buried in Afghan quagmire so that their contracts could continue but we in Afghanistan/Pakistan wish to see an immediate end to this GREAT GAME which for the last three decades have been bleeding us in our homes, streets and towns. So this hand over of Afghanistan to Afghans is the only way out of this quagmire

      March 24, 2011 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        Bangash – you are right about Dan and Dindy. They are immigrant from Germany and Sri Lanka. One has a son in US army
        ( a way to get a green card and residence inside US), While Dan is very old with some Alzheimer-liked ementia, very common in US because of bad diet (too many animal fats).

        March 24, 2011 at 5:13 am | Report abuse |
      • salerno

        read "dementia"

        March 24, 2011 at 5:14 am | Report abuse |
      • Dindy

        Bangash.....Just do not speak about people if you dont know them well. you must be the immigrant here talking every thing against USA . I wonder whether you are really a man .

        March 24, 2011 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
      • BANGASH

        DINDY this is indeed difficult to show you on this page that I am a man however you have asked so I must tell that I am a tribesman well at my home in my motherland and what I write here has its own background which the narrow and prejudiced mind of you may not understand. You in greed for dollars and green card can not only kill your dear son in the inhuman wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but can burn whole America to ensure flow of dollars. Despite three decades long sufferings at the hands of American Govt we tribal here do not hate all Americans as we know that 64% Americans condemn their leaders for these atrocities, But we certainly hate war mongers like you and all others in USA who have made our life a hell for us in our homes.

        March 24, 2011 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
      • pamiri

        We are not saying you Aqaeda and Taliban its your behave and the way you are living in this nice and lovely world that god gave us to live in it, to respect to humanity and each others, to help each others, to be an human and to think as human and to do for the human beings, but to be honest which one of these mentioned characteristics do you and your all Pakhtuns and Paksitanies have, please say?

        March 25, 2011 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Dindy

      Pamiri..... good posts and well written.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ibn al-Nafis

    Best of news. Hope those in Afghanistan will be up to maintaining and increasing peace during and after the transition.

    March 22, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Dindy body made....not make

      March 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |