ISAF: Afghanistan Transition Ahead of Schedule

Posted September 6th, 2011 at 1:10 am (UTC-5)
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NATO says its plan to transfer security control in Afghanistan to the country's army and police forces by 2014 is “remarkably ahead of schedule,” despite a deadly month of August for international forces.

International Security Assistance Force spokesperson, Brigadier General Carsten Jacobsen, said Monday security and governance throughout Afghanistan has “vastly improved” and the buildup of the Afghan National Security Forces is “going according to plan.”

Jacobsen says ISAF is ahead of schedule in its goal of training more than 350,000 Afghan security personnel by November 2012. He also says Afghans will be in the lead in training security forces by the end of next year.

NATO is in the first phase of handing security over to Afghanistan's army and police in a gradual process due to be completed in approximately three years. Violence has sharply increased since March, when President Hamid Karzai announced the first seven areas to be transferred to local forces.

But NATO spokesperson Christopher Chambers says the initial phase of the transition is “successfully underway” and that the coalition is working to identify the next areas to be transferred to Afghan control. He expects President Karzai to make a decision on which areas will be chosen by early October.

The month of August was the deadliest month yet in the nearly decade-long war for American forces. A total of 66 U.S. troops died, including 30 who were killed in a helicopter attack in eastern Afghanistan – the single worst loss of life for the United States in the Afghan war.

In June, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that 33,000 of 100,000 American troops would leave Afghanistan by September of 2012, with all international combat troops set to leave the country by the end of 2014.