Afghan forces soon to take over Kabul’s security from NATO

August 13th, 2008 - 11:00 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Taliban
Kabul, Aug 13 (DPA) Afghan security forces are to take over the security of the country’s capital Kabul from NATO forces later this month, the defence ministry said Wednesday. The move will be the first handover of security from the international forces to the Afghan fledgling security personnel since the deployment of foreign forces to the country following the ouster of Taliban regime in late 2001.

“The handover of responsibility for the security of Kabul from the NATO forces to Afghan National Army and other security forces will take place on 28 of August,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

With the strengthening of Afghan security forces “we will witness a day that Afghan Army would replace the international forces in all over the country,” ministry spokesman General Zahir Azimi said.

He said troops from NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) would leave Kabul city and instead Afghan forces would conduct patrols in and around the city.

The announcement of the transfer of security responsibilities to Afghan forces comes amid an upsurge of violence by militants in areas in and around the capital city.

Two international soldiers and some five Afghans including a policeman have been killed and dozens more were wounded in suicide and roadside attacks so far this month in Kabul city.

Last month, about 50 people, including four Indians, were killed when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into the Indian embassy in Kabul. At least 145 people were also injured in the blast, for which the Taliban has claimed responsibility.

Meanwhile, five Afghan police have been killed and four wounded in a roadside bomb blast in Marja district of southern Helmand province, Daoud Ahmadi, spokesman for provincial governor said Wednesday.

The police forces were patrolling in the area Tuesday night when the incident took place, he said.

Separately, the Afghan police killed four Taliban militants in the Deh-Rawood district of neighbouring province of Urzgan same night, according to provincial police chief Juma Gul Hemat.

The militants were killed after they attacked a police post in the area.

In another incident, ISAF said in a statement that their forces killed an Afghan man who approached their convoy in a vehicle during a patrol in southern Helmand province.

More than 2,700 people - mostly insurgents, but also including about 1,000 civilians - have been killed so far this year in fighting in Afghanistan.


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