Plan to begin Afghan security handover by end of 2010 dropped

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London, July 21 (ANI): The United State's plans to begin handing control of provinces in Afghanistan to Afghan security forces by the end 2010 have been quietly dropped amid European countries fears that the new US commander General David Petraeus, is not too keen about the transfer of power.

According to The Guardian, a Nato official has said that the change, revealed in the final communique in historic international conference in Kabul on July 21, 2010, reflects Petraeus's concerns that security conditions in Afghanistan are too weak for a transition of power to begin as quickly as originally planned.

The conference agreed that Afghan forces would be able to lead security operations throughout their country by 2014.

However, major European troop contributors were looking forward to more rapid progress in the relatively stable north and west of the country, where Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain and others have personnel.

The difficulties involved in any transition were highlighted today when an Afghan soldier killed two US civilians and one of his own comrades in Mazar-e-Sharif, one of the most stable cities of northern Afghanistan.

Nato had hoped that by the end of this year a cluster of neighbouring provinces in the north-west of Afghanistan would have begun the handover to the Afghan army and police force.

However, in the final agreement of the conference, a reference to transition taking place on a "province-by-province" basis, which appeared in an earlier draft, had been removed.

It was planned that European powers would announce the name of the provinces, which would be handed over at a summit of foreign ministers in Lisbon in November 2010, the report said.

"For Petraeus, Lisbon is not a problem. His main concern is the US political timetable, and being able by next summer to show progress that won't unravel," NATO official said.

A senior European diplomat said Petraeus's approach was far less welcome than that of his predecessor, Stanley McChrystal.

"Petraeus is trying to slow everything down, pushing back any announcement of transition until 2011," he said. (ANI)

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