May 17, 2012

Obama Welcomes New Stage of Afghan Security Transition

American Forces
Press Service
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jenny Lui
U.S. Army Pfc. Jeffery Penning and an Afghan security guard pull security during a roving patrol on Observation Post Mustang in Afghanistan's Kunar province, May 3, 2012. Penning is assigned to the 4th Infantry Division's Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment. U.S. troops are slated to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, with the transition from U.S.-led to Afghan-led security forces already being undertaken.

WASHINGTON, May 13, 2012 – President Barack Obama welcomed Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s announcement of his government’s list of areas intended for the third stage of the transition of security responsibility from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force to Afghan security forces.

“I welcome President Karzai’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,” Obama said in a statement issued today.

“As transition proceeds in these areas,” Obama said, “nearly 75 percent of the population of Afghanistan will be living in provinces, districts and villages where Afghan forces are leading.”

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, Afghanistan’s national security forces “are 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,” Obama said in his statement.

A week from now, Obama said, world leaders will gather at the May 20-21 NATO Summit in Chicago “to 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.”

Obama said he “looks 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.”

Afghanistan Pakistan Border Station at Torkhem, Afghanistan – Lance Cpl. France Mahabub, a rifleman with 1st Batt., 3rd Marine Division, helps set security for police investigators at the site of an explosion close to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border control station at Torkhem, Afghanistan, March 25, 2006. U.S. Marines from Forward Operating Base Torkhem provide security for international police advisors in Afghanistan who are training Afghanistan Border Police. U.S. troops are slated to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, with future US prescenece yet to be fully determined.

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