News: Afghans are ready for first stage of transition
Story by Master Sgt. Michael O'Connor
KABUL, Afghanistan - The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Transition Coordination Commission closed out a two-day conference June 30 at the Government Media and Information Center in downtown Kabul solidifying details related to the transition process set to begin mid-July.
Key Afghan government officials and the international community at various levels of civil and military government and the private sector attended the conference which focused on painting a realistic picture about the current status of security, governance, development, justice and the rule of law.
"I am very proud of our security ministers and governors," said Dr. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, chairman of transition coordination commission at the GMIC press conference which followed the meetings. "There is a full agreement on this. In the coming 12 days, these plans will be finalized and implemented. I want to thank the private sector, the international community and the women union representatives for their involvement."
During the conference, governors were afforded the opportunity to share their views and present their assessments on how security and transition is progressing on behalf of their respective provinces and discuss any challenges they have. The conference format provided answers to problems and clarity to the international community and the Afghan government.
Minister of Defense Abdul Rahim Wardak said the threat level has been reduced in the seven provinces and cities chosen to start the transition process and the conditions are appropriate for Afghan security forces to take the reins from the foreign forces they've been partnering with thus far.
According to the commission, these locations were chosen first due to the low level of threat and secondly, for having all the conditions ready for the transition process to begin, which includes having security organizations prepared to take over security responsibility.
Ghani said one point must be very clear - that this transition is not similar to one at the time of Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai's government.
"The responsibility of Afghanistan belongs to Afghans and we have to take this responsibility in a very united manner and we have to have a very organized system," said Ghani. "The people of Afghanistan want their children's life to be different from their own life and this is our responsibility. We have to make a future in which we don't have the pains of yesterday."
The leaders at the conference collectively called upon the patriots of Afghanistan to defend this process and to not let the enemy interfere in their affairs as the security of Afghanistan belongs to Afghans.
"Because of the international community, we have joint interests and it is the success of Afghan forces to protect the land," said Ghani. "It is not only for us, but for the international community and the world. Our hope is national hope. We always face danger and we have to understand this. We have to solve our problems through good governance."
Shortcomings and deficiencies have been alleviated, said Minister of Interior and former Afghan National Army Chief of Staff, Bismillah Khan Mohammadi. Evaluations have been conducted and these selected areas are ready to start the transition.
"The transition process will succeed no matter what, and our enemies should understand that they do not have the power to prevent our national resolve," said Ghani. "This country is prepared to pay any kind of sacrifice that is required. We will not abandon our resolve."
Kabul province with the exception of Sarobi District, Bamyan and Panjshayr provinces, as well as the cities of Mehtar Lam in Laghman province, Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province, Herat in Herat province and Lashkar Gah in Helmand will be the first to make the transition.