Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Saturday, October 20th, 2018

Mazar-i-Sharif Transitions to ANSF

Mazar-i-Sharif Transitions to ANSF

Security responsibility for Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of the northern province of Balkh, will be handed over to Afghan forces on Saturday, the governor's office in northern Balkh province said.

The transfer will increase to five the number of areas transferred to local control.

The Balkh governor, local officials, high ranking officials from Kabul, and military and civil officials of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will participate in the ceremony marking the transition in the province, the governor's offices said in a statement.

On Friday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said that the impending security transfer in Mazar-i-Sharif does not represent an end to Germany's assistance to Afghanistan. He promised his country would continue to cooperate with Afghanistan beyond 2014, when the transition process is expected to be complete.

There are nearly 4,800 German troops deployed in the northern provinces of the country. Up to 53 German soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan so far.

Balkh Governor Ata Mohammad Noor told a press conference on Friday that the city was ready for the security transition, but he stressed the need to increase Afghan forces' strength and capacity.

For the success of the transition process, the international community should shift its focus to terrorist safe havens outside Afghanistan, Noor said. "Everyone knows where Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed and terrorist sanctuaries are located."

Announced by President Hamid Karzai on March 22, the transition process is expected to be completed throughout the country by the end of 2014.

Security responsibility for the central province of Bamyan, Mehtarlam city in Laghman, and Lashkargah, the capital of southern Helmand province, has been transferred to Afghan forces.

Kabul province, except for the Sarobi district, and Panjshir province are also due to be transitioned to Afghan responsibility over the next few days.