Today (22 March), Afghan President Hamid Karzai named the first regions in which responsibility for security is to be transferred from the international community to the Afghan Government. Three provinces and four cities have been selected for this first phase. They include the city of Mazar-e-Sharif in Germany’s area of responsibility in northern Afghanistan. The start of the transfer process has been coordinated by the Afghans with the international community.
Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called the start of the security handover a watershed moment, marking the dawn of a new phase for international engagement in Afghanistan. He issued the following statement in Berlin today (22 March):
“The start of the transfer process is a sign of success for the new German-backed strategy for the international mission in Afghanistan. Our aim is to complete the transfer of responsibility by the end of 2014 and to start reducing the size of our Bundeswehr contingent in late 2011.
We welcome the fact that the city of Mazar-e-Sharif in Germany’s area of responsibility is among the first places where our Afghan partners will assume control of security.
For the first time in ten years, the Afghans living in the provinces and cities specified will have their security in their own hands. This is an important moment.”