NATO hands Kabul security to Afghan forces

The handover is being largely played down by ISAF, who have said there will be an international military presence in the capital for some time to come.

NATO hands Kabul security to Afghan forces
Afghan forces took over responsibility for the security of the capital, Kabul, on Thursday, in what is largely viewed as a symbolic move.

But there are no plans for foreign forces to pull out of the city any time soon.

There are currently around 57,000 soldiers serving in the Afghan army and that number is expected to rise to 120,000 over the coming years. On top of this, there are some 82,000 in Afghanistan's police force.

"Today, Thursday at 3 o'clock (1030 GMT), the commander of NATO forces and the Ministry of Defence will sign an agreement for the transfer of security of the city of Kabul from ISAF forces to Afghan national security forces," Defence Ministry spokesman General Zaher Azimi said in a statement before the formal transfer.

President Hamid Karzai announced the handover to Afghan security forces in July.

The handover is being largely played down by ISAF, who have said there will be an international military presence in the capital for some time to come.

Some 70,000 foreign troops under the command of NATO and the U.S.-led coalition are based in Afghanistan, fighting a Taliban insurgency to overthrow the pro-Western Afghan government.

Many of the international forces have bases inside the capital and conduct frequent patrols within and outside the city. ISAF headquarters are also located in the capital.

While the number of incidents in Kabul in down, the capital has suffered higher-profile attacks this year, such as the January suicide bombing of a luxury hotel, a bid to kill Karzai in April and the bombing of the Indian Embassy last month which killed 58 people.

Reuters
Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Ağustos 2008, 16:11
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