From an International Security Assistance Force News Release
KABUL, Afghanistan – The International Security Assistance Force welcomes the release of the Afghan government’s list of areas intended for the third stage of the transition of security responsibility in the country, officials reported today.
The Afghan government will now enter the third of five tranches as they continue to move forward in the process of taking the responsibility of national security from ISAF, officials said.
“President [Hamid] Karzai’s announcement of the third group of areas to enter transition is a testament to the capacity and capability of the Afghan National Security Force who will now be responsible for the security of more than 75 percent of the Afghan population.” said Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, ISAF commander.
Three-fourths of Afghanistan’s population will be living in areas that will have transitioned from the ISAF to Afghan National Security Forces following the “tranche three” implementation.
“Afghanistan continues to move forward,” Allen said, in establishing its sovereign future and the security of its borders. Implementation of the third tranche of security transition, he added, represents “another step in bringing the hope of greater prosperity to the Afghan people.”
The transition of security responsibility in a designated area is a process that only takes place when the Afghan National Security Forces have the capability to take the lead role in maintaining their own security and can adequately deal with security situations that may arise in these areas, officials said. The complete process of transition in an area can take 12-18 months.
The list of areas intended for the third tranche of transition covers 122 districts, bringing the total number of districts to 260 in all 34 provinces, officials said. Every capital of every province in Afghanistan is now in a designated area of transition.
NATO's senior civilian representative in Afghanistan, Ambassador Simon Gass, said he sees great momentum moving into the third tranche as a result of the progress made in the first two tranches.
“This decision builds on the good results we have seen in the first two tranches and maintains momentum in the transition process. It has been enabled by the great strides made by the Afghan National Security Forces who have repeatedly shown their ability to maintain security,” Gass said. “Afghans can be proud of their security forces and the brave and professional job they are doing.
“We are on course to complete transition at a sensible pace by the end of 2014,” Gass continued. “But after that, we will maintain a strong partnership with Afghanistan. We will not abandon this great country. After 30 years of conflict and suffering, Afghans deserve a better future. Today's decision is another step in that direction.”
As Afghanistan moves closer to assuming complete responsibility for its national security, the ambassador said, NATO remains clear that its commitment and support will continue beyond 2014.
“The people of Afghanistan continue to make great strides in securing a peaceful nation for themselves,” Gass said. “As we move closer to the Afghan government taking complete control of their national security, ISAF’s role will shift from combat to support and its commitment to a peaceful Afghanistan will continue beyond 2014.”