Karzai to start first defense handover from NATO to Afghan in March

09:59, February 07, 2011      

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Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said here on Sunday the first phase of defense handover from NATO to Afghanistan forces will commence on March 21.

"We are determined to demonstrate Afghan leadership and ownership of the transition process," Karzai said at the 47th Munich Security Conference (MSC), dubbed the "Davos of security policy."

As the security of Afghan has improved during the last two years, "the first phase of transition will begin on the Afghan New Year, which is on March 21," he said.

The NATO planed to completely withdraw its troops of about 130, 000 at present by 2014 and hand over the defense of Afghan to local governments province by province in light of the security situation there.

However, the planned withdrawal of NATO troops has worried Russia because extremist activities in northern Afghanistan are increasing. "The situation can become worse than it is now after peacekeeping troops, including the NATO troops withdraw, which may put a military threat on us," Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Saturday at MSC.

Russia will continue to support the peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan, he said.

Karzai also said countries and organizations who provide aids to Afghan should not bypass his government because that would be harmful and counterproductive. "They don't produce the desired result," He said. "Rather, they are contributing to weakened Afghan government and to impediments to the growth of the Afghan state structures and good governance."

Karzai also reiterated its determination to tackle corruption in Afghanistan, a key apprehension when countries or organizations donate to the government directly.

Source: Xinhua
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