June 18 - The US-led NATO coalition in Afghanistan launches a final phase of transferring responsibility for security to Afghan forces. Mana Rabiee reports.
NOTE: AUDIO QUALITY AS INCOMING They're in charge of their own country now. Afghan forces took over control of national security from NATO on Tuesday, in a final handover in Kabul that marked a SHIFT in NATO's role here, from combat to one of support. The same day, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Josef Dunford, said the transition means he's no longer running the Afghan war. That responsibility, he said, now lies with the Afghan Ministries of Defense and Interior. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GENERAL JOSEF DUNFORD, COMMANDER OF NATO IN AFGHANISTAN; SAYING: "Last week I was responsible for security here in Afghanistan and today as a result of that ceremony the responsibility is with the MOD and MOI on behalf of president Karzai and that is a significant change from yesterday to today." In Kandahar, this resident welcomed the security handover. (SOUNDBITE) (Pashto) A RESIDENT OF KANDAHAR, WAZIR MOHAMMAD SAYING: "This is great news that today Afghan forces are taking the security lead, they are the sons of this soil and they will serve us better than foreigners." But it's unclear how ready Afghan forces are to shoulder this responsibility. Fatalities among their ranks suggest the burden of war has been a heavy one. In one year, Afghanistan has lost more of its troops than NATO has across the entire war.