KABUL - Gen. Josef Dunford, top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, on Thursday said that local security personnel were capable of conducting independent operations and maintaining security for the upcoming elections.
Speaking at a change-in-command ceremony in at the ISAF headquarters in Kabul, Gen. Josef Dunford said the security situation in Afghanistan had considerably improved over the past few years.
He said questions were being asked about the Afghan soldiers’ capacity to maintain peace, conduct operations independently and ensure security for the 2014 elections,.
Gen. Dunford hastened to add: “For sure they are competent in many areas, including independent offensives and maintaining security for the presidential and provincial council elections.”
Since its inception in July 2011, the security transition process had seen more than 80 per cent of the Afghan population being protected by Afghan forces, he said. The process would be completed later this year.
The commander said Afghan forces had been able to cope with numerous security challenges and make significant achievements with the cooperation of their international partners.
Addressing the Afghan security personnel, Dunford said: “We believe you can maintain peace and stability in your country; you rescue the people from the Taliban and I am optimistic of a stable and peaceful Afghanistan.”
At the ceremony, Gen. James Terry – the ISAF Joint Command head -- transferred command to Gen. Mark A. Malley. A number of Afghan and ISAF officials were in attendance. Gen. Terry had assumed command on June 12, 2012. (Pajhwok)