NATO Secretary General Rasmussen welcomes Afghan transition

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the Afghan transition, which will give the Afghan troops and police the responsibility of securing Afghanistan's provinces, on Tuesday.

"I welcome President Karzai's announcement of the fifth and final group of Afghan provinces, cities and districts to undergo transition in the coming months," Rasmussen said. "This decision marks an important milestone, when Afghan soldiers and police will take the lead for security across the country."

United States and NATO forces have fought the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan since 2001. In 2001, 90 percent of the country was under Taliban control and supported the actions of Osama bin Laden and the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. In 2003, NATO took control of the International Security Assistance Force, which was set up to train native Afghans to fight, from the United States.

After this recent step towards Afghan security taking over full control over Afghanistan, the ISAF will shift to a support role as Afghans continue to take control. This will mean a drop off in combat missions performed by the ISAF.

"This is a day of pride for all Afghans and the 50 nations which contribute to ISAF," Rasmussen said. "At the Lisbon Summit in 2010, we set out an ambitious roadmap with the Afghan Government to gradually hand over responsibility for security to the Afghan forces by the end of 2014. And today is an important marker for the success of that strategy."