US welcomes Afghan security transition | Pakistan Today

US welcomes Afghan security transition

WASHINGTON The United States welcomed an announcement by Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday that Afghan forces will begin taking responsibility for security in several provinces this summer. “As we have long said, the Afghans themselves must take responsibility for their own future – for providing security, for strengthening governance, and for reaching a political solution to the conflict,” US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. Karzai said Afghan forces will take responsibility for three provinces and five cities, including the violence-wracked capital of Helmand province, from NATO-led forces starting this summer.
Clinton said the areas slated for the shift in security responsibilities accounted for nearly a quarter of the country’s population. It is part of a broader transition that is supposed to clear the way for a drawdown of US and other foreign forces over the next three years. “We look forward to troop reductions starting in July and continuing based on conditions on the ground, with the transition to be completed by the end of 2014,” Clinton said. There are currently about 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan.
Clinton said the United States and its partners would realign its civilian and military resources in Afghanistan to support the Afghan government as it takes responsibility for security and delivering essential services. “As transition proceeds and Afghan leadership strengthens across the country, a process of political reconciliation to end the conflict will become increasingly viable,” she said.



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