In Berlin today (18 June), Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement on the Afghan President’s announcement that the Afghan Government will assume responsibility for security throughout the country:
The start of the last phase of the security handover throughout Afghanistan is a milestone. The decision announced by President Karzai today is an important step towards full Afghan sovereignty and ownership.
Thus transition towards the complete withdrawal of international combat troops by the end of 2014 is still on track. Despite all setbacks and problems, also as regards the security situation, the Afghans are increasingly responsible for their own security, and our engagement will be increasingly civilian. This reorientation after more than ten years of international military engagement continues to be difficult, but it is right and necessary.
Today, Afghan President Karzai announced his decision on the fifth and last tranche of the security handover. The Afghan Government is now responsible for the security of more than 85 percent of the population.