Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Afghanistan: NATO - Transition of Security Responsibility Begins with Civilian Help

Source: North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

Date: 29 Mar 2011

KABUL, Afghanistan (March 29, 2011) – Local Afghan citizens have stepped forward to take control of their own country's destiny as Afghan National Security Forces assume increased security responsibility for areas throughout Afghanistan.

Citizens in the Sayad Abad District in Wardak Province warned ANSF members of a tractor and trailer passing through that contained a large weapons cache, according to German Army Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz, spokesman, International Security Assistance Force, and Chris Chambers, deputy civilian spokesperson, NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, during a press conference Monday at ISAF Headquarters.

"Hidden in a false bottom were 10 suicide vests, 17 spools of detonation cord, 30 cell phones and over 272 kilograms of explosive materials," said Blotz.

The increased involvement of local citizens is especially timely, as transition of security responsibility of select Afghan cities and provinces to Afghan National Security Forces is scheduled to take full effect by July.

"On the second day of the [Afghan] new year, President Karzai announced the first Afghan districts and provinces to undergo transition to Afghan lead in the coming months," said Chambers.

Among the first areas for transition to Afghan responsibility include Bamiyan, Panjshir, Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, eastern portions of Laghman province, Herat, and Lashkar Gah.

"Transition cannot occur without Afghan and coalition partners standing 'shohna ba shohna' [shoulder to shoulder], and we, at ISAF, celebrate this significant achievement with you," said Blotz.

Blotz also shared news of successful operations in the Sarobi District, Kabul province on March 26.

"Four caches were discovered and destroyed…containing seven anti-personnel mines, 12 hand grenades, seven RPGs [rocket propelled grenades] and 17 RPG propellants as well as other weapons," said Blotz.

The discovery was part of Operation Rawhide II, an effort to curtail the flow of narcotics, weapons, and fighters in and out of southern Afghanistan.

"Marines from the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion struck a key insurgent hub along the Helmand-Pakistan border," Blotz stated.

Citizens have increasingly alerted ANSF and coalition forces of planned insurgent attacks, locations of narcotics and weapons caches, and they have refused to provide safe haven to the insurgents, Blotz added.