WASHINGTON, May 13, 2012 â€“ President Barack Obama welcomed Afghanistan President Hamid Karzaiâ€™s announcement of his governmentâ€™s list of areas intended for the third stage of the transition of security responsibility from NATOâ€™s International Security Assistance Force to Afghan security forces.
â€œI welcome President Karzaiâ€™s announcement today of the third tranche of areas to transition to Afghan security lead, which is an important step forward in our effort to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan,â€ Obama said in a statement issued today.
â€œAs transition proceeds in these areas,â€ Obama said, â€œnearly 75 percent of the population of Afghanistan will be living in provinces, districts and villages where Afghan forces are leading.â€
The Afghan government will now enter the third of five tranches or stages, as they continue to move forward in the process of taking the responsibility of national security, ISAF officials said in a news release issued today.
Meanwhile, Afghanistanâ€™s national security forces â€œare strengthening their capacity as we remain on track to meet our goal of having the Afghan government fully responsible for security across the country by the end of 2014,â€ Obama said in his statement.
A week from now, Obama said, world leaders will gather at the May 20-21 NATO Summit in Chicago â€œto discuss how we can effectively advance the transition process as our forces move from combat to a support role and demonstrate our enduring support for the Afghan government and Afghan National Security Forces.â€
Obama said he â€œlooks forward to meeting with President Karzai and my fellow leaders in Chicago to discuss these critical steps that will strengthen Afghan sovereignty while responsibly winding down the war.â€