The Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Sunday welcomed the end to NATO combat mission in Afghanistan, saying Afghan forces were capable enough to defend the nation and the rebels had no courage to face them.
The US and NATO formally ended their 13-year-old war in Afghanistan at a ceremony held in this regard at the NATO headquarters in Kabul.
The troops will be replaced by a small 12,800 contingent to train and assist Afghan forces by the end of this month, when Afghan forces will be responsible for security nationwide.
The MoI on Sunday dubbed assuming full security responsibility by Afghan forces as one of their great achievements so far.
MoI spokesman Siddique Siddiqui told reporters in Kabul: “We have long been waiting for this day when NATO combat mission will end and the entire responsibility transitions to Afghan forces.”
He said the Afghan forces would be responsible for security of the entire country from the start of the new year, something seen as one of their great achievements during the past 13 years.
The residual nearly 13000 foreign troops to train and assist Afghan forces post-2014 will include 10800 American troops.
When the numbers reached the peak, 140,000 troops from 51 countries were stationed in Afghanistan, but their numbers started reducing two years back when the security transition process began. The 13-year war saw 3500 foreign troops falling in Afghanistan.
Siddiqui said the Afghan forces had the ability to defend the country and the insurgents had lost the courage to face them.
About the ongoing conflict in the Dangam district of eastern Kunar province, the official said the insurgents had been defeated there and security forces were busy conducting search operations.
“We were facing international terrorism that has been defeated. Terrorists cannot enter a direct engagement with Afghan forces,” Siddiqui said.
Last week, the Ministry of Defence said the operations in Dangam had problems earlier, now the offensive was being carried out as planned.
Hundreds of insurgents two weeks ago launched attacks on the troubled town against residents spearheading an uprising against them.
Local officials in Kunar said ground offensive by Afghan forces and airstrikes by foreign troops last week had resulted in the killing of more than 100 rebels, including 17 Pakistani fighters. Another 100 insurgents have been injured, they said.
Security officials claim they had suffered less casualties in the Dangam district and the Taliban have rejected their casualty figures.
Hundreds of residents, including women and children, who had been under Taliban’s siege, have been freed and moved to other areas after mediation of tribal elders. The displaced families have been assisted with essential food and non-food items.