Afghan forces assume command of south
KANDAHAR CITY: Afghan security forces in southern Afghanistan on Sunday assumed command of combat missions from their international counterparts at an impressive ceremony in southern Kandahar province, officials said.
The ceremony on the Kandahar airfield in the provincial capital, Kandahar city, was attended by governors of Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul, besides Afghan and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) members and civil officials.
Later, Kandahar Governor Tooryalai Weesa, Uruzgan Governor Amir Mohammad Akhunzda and Zabul Deputy Governor Mohammad Jan Rassoulyar and the 205th Atal Military Corps commander Gen. Abdul Hameed Hameed and the 404th Maiwand Zone police commander Gen. Salim Ehsas held a joint press conference.
Gen. Abdul Hameed told reporters that earlier foreign troops would plan and execute security operations in the south, but now the responsibility had been transferred to Afghan forces.
“Earlier the command of combat missions was with ISAF forces who would guide and instruct Afghan forces on what kind of military techniques be used during operations. Now that responsibility rests with Afghans,” the general said, adding foreign troops would continue to play a supportive role during operations.
The commander hoped problems earlier faced by residents during night operations would be resolved with the new development.
“Night operations will be carried out for high value targets only. Such operations will be planned and executed by special Afghan forces,” Gen. Hameed explained.
He assured Afghan forces would conduct operations in line with Afghan traditions and respect the sanctity of their homes.
The general acknowledged Afghan forces could face problems in the start, but said the Special Forces had gone through tough experiences during the past six months of operations.
Governor Weesa expressed his pleasure over the transfer of command to Afghan forces, calling it an unforgettable and historic moment for residents of southern provinces.
He said now the 205th Atal Military Corps would be responsible for security incidents and hoped the troops would be able to do the job in a befitting manner.
Uruzgan governor Amir Mohammad Akhunzda said the ability of Afghan forces to take over security responsibility was the legacy of best training and support by foreign troops.
Zabul deputy governor said the transfer was a great achievement for Afghan forces, hoping the move would increase security and eventually peace would prevail in the region.
The 404th Maiwand police commander Gem. Salim Ehsas on the occasion said that police carried out operations in close coordination with Afghan army personnel.
ISAF commander in the south, Maj. Gen. James L. Huggins, insisted foreign troops would continue to extend full support to their Afghan counterparts under any circumstances.
The transfer of command comes at a time when Afghan forces have launched operations in the Zheri, Panjwai and Maiwand districts.
As part of the security transition process, Kandahar city, Dand, Daman and Arghandab districts are due to change hands in the near future.—(PAN)
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