PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan, Dec. 2, 2011 – Marine Corps Gen. John R. Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan C. Crocker witnessed the security responsibilities for Parwan province transferred to Afghan forces at a ceremony held in the provincial capital of Charikar today, military officials reported.
The transfer comes during Afghanistan’s second stage of security transition, known as Tranche 2, the second of four stages of transition announced at the Lisbon Summit last year, officials said. Parwan province is the first of many locations under Tranche 2 to enter the transition process as defined by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
„Together, with the areas that have previously begun transition, half of Afghanistan’s population will be under the protection of their fellow countrymen: Afghan soldiers, Afghan policemen, and Afghan guardians and patrolmen who will take the lead in ensuring that transition is irreversible,“ Allen said.
The transition list of areas intended for the second tranche of transitions covers 18 provinces, with some including the entire province while others cover city or district areas, officials said. Across the country this month, ISAF and Afghan security forces will partner to secure places that only two years ago would have been seen as beyond the reach of Afghanistan’s security forces.
„It is well that we should mark this occasion here in Parwan,“ Allen said. „During the darkness of the Taliban, Parwan was a key avenue of approach to Kabul. Now, Parwan is part of Afghanistan’s approach to the future … . This future will be brought forth by common effort between the province and the national-level ministries.“
The ISAF commander pointed out future district projects and NATO training missions designed to facilitate a smooth transition toward 2014.
„We will support the Afghan government as it strengthens governance and rule of law — two key pillars of sustainable transition, and together, we will look for opportunities to create the kind of positive change that those two pillars can bring to local communities,“ Allen said. „We must remind ourselves that transition is a process, not an end state, and there will be further challenges as we move toward 2014.“
Allen reiterated that the transition process, as in Parwan, is not an „exit strategy“ for the international community in Afghanistan. It is, he said, a „success strategy.“
Throughout the week, most of Parwan province, and six other provinces, 48 districts, and seven municipalities, will also start the security transfer process.
From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release