Calling 2014 a crucial year, President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai has said Afghan forces would completely take over security responsibilities across the nation by the end of the year, when the security transition completes.
A statement from the Presidential Palace said President Ahmadzai was addressing Afghan National Army (ANA) commando forces based in the Reshkhor area of Kabul. Defence Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and Chief of Army Staff Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi were also present.The president congratulated the commandos and said Afghanistan was proud of them because they had defended the country under toughest situations.Ahmadzai said 2014 was a special year for Afghanistan: “The security transition from foreign troops to Afghan forces will complete this year and Afghan forces will assume full responsibility of defending the country,” the president said.Most foreign troops will be leaving Afghanistan on Dec. 31, 2014 but a few thousands US and NATO troops will stay on to train Afghan forces and assist them in countering terrorism under security accords.Exact figures for the residual American troops are not known as yet but it is said nearly 10000 American troops are expected to stay.The withdrawal of NATO/ISAF personnel marks the end of their combat mission and the start of their training mission in Afghanistan after 2014.The number of Afghan security forces has reached 350,000. The Ministry of Defence says Afghan forces have the ability to defend the country after foreign troops’ drawdown.However, a recent suicide attack in Kabul that killed four Afghan soldiers questions the ability of Afghan forces to maintain security. Another eight soldiers were injured in the blast that targeted an ANA vehicle.The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, saying their target was the Reshkhor-based commandos.In his address to the commandos, Ahmadzai issued directives to thec authorities concerned to resolve problems facing the army unit.He said the commandos would no longer spend extra time in a particular area and they would not be used like other army units.The president said the regulation governing promotion of commandos should be enforced and army personnel voluntarily joining the special operations forces should be appreciated by the government and given the certain privileges at the earliest.Promising state metals soldiers who performed their duty in an effective way, Ahmadzai said his government would work to provide all needed equipment to the forces and resolve problems facing the air force and other areas.