Karzai Preparing Next Round of Afghan Transition

Posted October 26th, 2011 at 4:25 am (UTC-5)
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Afghan officials say President Hamid Karzai is close to naming 17 provinces where Afghan troops will take over security responsibility from the U.S.-led NATO coalition.

The officials said Wednesday Mr. Karzai will announce the second set of transition sites next week at a conference in Turkey.

NATO plans to transfer full security control to Afghan forces by the end of 2014. The process began in July, and Afghan forces have taken security control of several cities and provinces.

Meanwhile, officials say a bomb targeting a fuel truck has exploded north of the capital, Kabul, killing at least 10 people.

The officials said the blast late Tuesday in Parwan province also wounded about 35 others. The explosion blew a hole in the truck, which was later engulfed by flames as people gathered to collect fuel that was leaking out.

Earlier Tuesday, the Afghan government urged 600 religious scholars and mosque leaders taking part in a three-day conference in Kabul to participate in an anti-drugs awareness campaign.

The Anti-Narcotics Ministry Tuesday said the use and cultivation of any type of drugs is forbidden in Islam, and religious leaders can highlight that fact in their daily and weekly sermons.

It expressed hope the participants will issue an Islamic religious edict, or fatwa, and emphasize a greater role for religious scholars and leaders in eliminating the use of drugs inside Afghanistan.

Also Tuesday, NATO said joint Afghan-coalition forces intercepted a large shipment of drug-processing materials in southern Kandahar province, containing more than 21 tons of morphine, ammonium chloride and sodium carbonate.

A NATO statement said joint security patrols also killed several insurgents and detained numerous others, including two Haqqani facilitators, in the last 24 hours across the country.