The Secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Anders Fogh Rasmussen insisted the transfer of power to Afghan forces was progressing well,
“Transition is firmly on track…Over the coming months, Afghan security forces will progressively take over lead responsibility for providing security in a further 18 areas,” he said.
The NATO led force ISAF, is expected to leave Afghanistan by end of 2014, handing over power to Afghan forces. The first tranche of areas where Afghan forces would take over from NATO, were announced in July by Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Attacks by Taliban militants and shortage of trainers for Afghan security forces have been seen as a major hindrance to the transitional process.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has refuted claims by Afghan officials that it provoked a NATO border attack. Islamabad has vehemently denied accusations that its actions forced the NATO forces to retaliate. Responding to the allegations, spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas in a text message said,
“This is not true. They are making up excuses. What are their losses, casualties?” Gen Abbas accused NATO forces of continuing the raid for more than an hour, despite being contacted by local commanders to stop the strike.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called the attack a “grave infringement of Pakistan’s sovereignty.”
Islamabad has blocked supply lines to NATO in Afghanistan and announced today it would boycott the Bonn Conference, scheduled for December 5th. NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed his condolences and said “the deaths of Pakistani personnel are as unacceptable and deplorable as the deaths of Afghan and international personnel”. The attack took place at the Salala checkpoint, close to the Afghan border, on Saturday morning killing 24 Pakistani soldiers.