KABUL, March 11 (Xinhua) -- The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will transfer the security charges of eastern Wardak province to Afghan government forces, an ISAF spokesman said on Monday, days after the Afghan leader called on U. S. Special Forces to evict the province.
"There are plans to develop a long-term security plan in conjunction with the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to transit Wardak in a responsible and deliberate way," spokesman Brigadier General Gunter Katz told a weekly briefing.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Feb. 24 issued a two-week deadline for all U.S. Special Forces to leave the province 35 km west of Kabul.
The decision was taken after an investigation team found the foreign forces and Afghans working for them were engaged in " harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people. "
"We are working on this as we speak but we have also to realize that we are working as quickly as we can," Katz said without disclosing the exact date for the transition.
When asked about the recent tense comments by President Karzai that the United States and the Taliban were holding secret peace talks and that the foreigners and Taliban insurgent group prefer foreign troops to remain in the country, Katz did not give a direct reply but repeated the remarks of ISAF commander Gen. Joseph Dunford.
"We have fought too hard over the past 12 years. We have shed too much blood over the past 12 years and we have done too much to help the Afghan Security Forces grow over the last 12 years to ever think that violence or instability would be to our advantage, " Katz quoted Dunford as saying.
Currently about 100,000 NATO-led forces, with nearly 66,000 of them Americans are deployed in the country to halt the Taliban's attempt to return to power.
Afghanistan is due to take over the leadership of its own security duties from U.S. and NATO forces by the end of 2014. The ANSF have already took full control of areas where about 75 percent of the population lives.
Under the U.S. President Barack Obama's withdrawal plan 33,000 U.S. troops already pulled out of Afghanistan in September last year and another 34,000 will return home within one year.
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