President Karzai's office, on Saturday, November 26 endorsed eighteen more areas that would start falling in the hands of Afghan National Army and Police (ANAP) from the beginning of the next year. Unlike the first stage of transition, which included places that were already peaceful and for the most part already under government control, this one includes many areas where Taliban insurgents remain active.
Mr. Karzai deems the transition process a significant triumph for ANAP. It is expected that by the end of 2014 – when the combat role of international troops comes to an end – all the provinces of Afghanistan will come under Afghan control. The second phase of transition is announced at times when the already transitioned areas have witnessed growth in the incidents of insurgency.
Certain small-scale attacks were launched in Bamiyan and Panjsher – quite unusual for these two provinces. Also, security has gone quite badly in Lashkargah – the center of Helmand province – since this summer when the first phase of transition was completed.
At the same time, a NATO official has said that the Taliban are now demoralized. In an opinion piece in Monday's edition of The Washington Post, Simon Gass, NATO's senior civilian representative in Afghanistan said, "They are demoralized and finding it harder to resupply with men, money and weapons. The fighting campaign they boasted of this summer has been a flop." But he also warns that those achievements are fragile.
One can undoubtedly say that the Taliban will increase their focus on the areas that will come under the Afghan forces. Since more investments by US and its allies are being made to provide ANAP with more training and latest military equipments, weapons and aircrafts, Afghans hope their soldiers would successfully defend Afghanistan against Taliban and similar groups.
Nonetheless, for transition process to be victorious, Afghan security forces would need support from NATO in the long run and things must not be confined just to the year 2014. The strategic deal that would be signed between Afghanistan and the US is going to serve the same purpose.