LONDON:The Times newspaper reported today that the US commander in Afghanistan has drafted a timetable to hand the control over to local security forces of its provinces .
US General David Petraeus’s to present a colour-coded map to Nato leaders at a summit in Lisbon which will be held on November 19, it contains a small number of “green” areas which are designated for handover within six months.
The plan indicates that the western province of Herat is due for an early handover, while Nato forces are expected to remain in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand for at least two more years.
Alliance diplomatic sources told the newspaper that Petraeus did not want the map to be published, fearing certain provinces and districts would become “bull’s-eye” targets for the Taliban.
The sources added that Petraeus will use his Lisbon platform to reaffirm that the changeover will be a gradual process of Nato withdrawal and strengthening of Afghan forces.
The summit is expected to give full support to the proposals which support US President Barack Obama’s promise that he will begin pulling US troops out of Afghanistan from July next year.
The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was “convinced” that parts of Afghanistan would be under the control of Afghan forces by next year.
Clinton told reporters in Melbourne reported that; “We are convinced that starting next year there will be parts of Afghanistan that will be under the control of the Afghan government and its security forces,”
With violence mainly concentrated in nine to the south and east of the country,Afghanistan is divided into 37 provinces.
It is hoped that around two-thirds could be handed over without serious risk Of over 300 districts within the provinces,