Afghanistan ready to assume security responsibility: Pentagon

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Washington, Dec 3: Afghan forces will be prepared to assume security responsibility after the complete withdrawal of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) at the end of this month, the Pentagon has said.

"We believe that we have achieved the mission of getting Afghan national security forces to that level," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said at a press conference on Tuesday.

terrorism

Although Afghan troops will assume full responsibility, the US will keep 9,800 soldiers in the country as support for the new NATO mission which will focus only on training and advising the local forces.

Kirby said that the Afghan national security forces had advanced to a point where they were very competent and capable in the field, but there might be some capabilities, which needed to be enabled.  According to Kirby, the recent attacks by the Taliban in several cities of the country, including Kabul, did not have any strategic impact and were expected in the transition period.

However, it did not indicate the insurgent group's resurgence, he added.  "The Afghan national security forces and police reacted bravely and quickly to each one," he added.

Violence has been on the rise in Afghanistan over the past few weeks with a number of terrorist attacks, including a suicide bombing that killed 61 civilians at a village volleyball match last month.

The incidents have specially affected Kabul with nine recent attacks, including three against Western targets.  The ISAF mission started in 2001 following the US invasion to topple the Taliban regime and root out the Al Qaeda terrorist group which was responsible for the attacks on New York City and Washinton DC on Sep 11 that year.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani signed two security agreements on Tuesday, allowing the presence of American and NATO international troops to remain in the country from 2015. Under the agreement, the 9,800 US soldiers will be deployed in the country until 2024, along with 3,000-4,000 NATO personnel.

IANS

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