PARAKH - Security for the central province of Panjsher transitioned from NATO-led American troops to Afghan forces on Sunday, officials said. A ceremony marking the security transfer, attended by Afghan, US and ISAF officials, was held in the provincial capital, Parakh, the police chief said. Governor Kiramuddin Karim welcomed the transition, saying they were ready to use international assistance for Panjsher's security and development.
In order to make the project a success, he urged the international community to properly equip and train the provincial police force. Head of the transition commission, Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, said Panjsher was a peaceful province, where the security switch would not affect foreign aid.
As part of sustained cooperation from the global fraternity, $30 million would be spent on different projects such as the construction of the Panjsher-Badakhshan highway, extraction of mines and power supply over next three years.
Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani promised that extraction work in the province would be launched shortly. He said Panjsher had vast reserves of lapis, emerald, iron and marble.
Richard Olson, a representative of the US embassy in Kabul, pledged continued American assistance to Afghanistan. Nearly $60 million have been spent by the US on reconstruction schemes in the province, he said.
About 100 US soldiers, stationed in the province, help Afghans maintain security. Ministers of defense, interior, agriculture, rehabilitation and rural development, mines and the Independent Directorate of Local Governance head also participated in the event.
Announced by President Hamid Karzai on March 22, the transition process is expected to be completed throughout the country by the end of 2014.