Hamid Karzai

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received Afghan President Hamid Karzai today in Tehran, expressing his support for Afghanistan’s plan to assume responsibility for its own security instead of relying on foreign security forces.

In an announcement issued by the President’s office in Afghanistan, Karzai expressed every hope that the Afghan people will succeed in making this transition.

March 22 was the official start of the gradual transfer. National troops will begin by taking over security in the provinces of Kabul, Panjshir and Bamian as well as the cities of Herat, Lashkargah, Mehtarlam and Mazar Sharif. Karzai says the process will take three years to complete.

The Afghani President will attend the international Norooz celebrations in Tehran along with the presidents of Iraq, Turkmenistan, Armenia and Tajikistan. Representatives from several other countries in the region are also expected.

Karzai’s announcement notes that in his visit with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Afghan president highlighted the vital role of neighbouring countries in ensuring the successful transfer of security powers in Afghanistan. He called on Iran and Pakistan to cooperate as needed to achieve that goal.