Afghan forces to lead all military operations from June 19: Karzai

Kabul, June 18 : Afghan national forces will lead all military operations in the country from June 19, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Tuesday.

"Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) will lead all military operations from tomorrow," Karzai told a ceremony attended by high- ranking Afghan officials and the NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Kabul.

The Afghan leader also said the ANSF will take the security charges of the entire country within the two or three months after the fifth and final security transition from U.S. and NATO forces to ANSF ends.

However, he did not give a date for the end of security transition.

The security transition began in mid-2011. The Afghan forces and the NATO-led troops have completed transition in the first four of five tranches of provinces and districts across the country where more than 90 percent of the country's 30 million population lives.

Rasmussen, who arrived in Kabul earlier in the day, told the same ceremony that "Today is an important day. This is a day for Afghans to be proud."

The U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan will switch from combat to support role -- training, advising and assisting Afghan forces after the security transition ended, Rasmussen noted.

More than 100,000 foreign troops with nearly 66,000 of them Americans are being deployed in Afghanistan.

The ceremony was held in a military university in western Kabul.

"The security situation is improving in areas where Afghan forces took full responsibility from NATO-led coalition forces," The chairman of security transition Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai said.

The Afghan Defense Minister Bismullah Mohammadi said that the Afghan army and police are entirely ready to provide security for Afghans.

However, the country braces with dozens of explosions and armed attacks by Taliban insurgent group.

The latest bombing attack underscores the challenges that Afghan army and police faced as they struggle to provide security across the country.

The announcement came hours after a suicide bombing killed three civilians and injured six others in west of Kabul. On June 11, the Taliban carried out a suicide car bombing on Supreme Court in central Kabul, killing 17 people and injuring 50 others.

--ANI (Posted on 19-06-2013)

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