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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 1008-12
December 31, 2012

Statement by Secretary Panetta on the Government of Afghanistan’s Security Transition Announcement

            “It is another sign of steady progress that the Government of Afghanistan has announced the fourth tranche of the transition process.  I congratulate President Karzai, his national security team, and the Afghan National Security Forces for their commitment to taking even more of a lead role for the security of the Afghan people.  This step demonstrates the success of our strategy and the progress that the men and women of ISAF, working closely with our Afghan partners, are achieving every day in Afghanistan.  As part of this fourth phase of transition, Afghan security forces will have lead responsibility for the safety of 87 percent of the Afghan population, which is a strong indicator that Afghanistan is on the path to full self-governance.  The Afghan people, as well as their American and ISAF partners, should take pride in what they have accomplished and in their ability to effectively carry out this transition process.  Going forward, our efforts in Afghanistan will continue to ensure that the Afghan people can secure and govern themselves, and to deny safe haven to al-Qaeda.  Today's announcement marks another major advance toward those goals.”

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