France hands over Kabul security mission to Turkey

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The French army transferred command of NATO troops stationed in Kabul to Turkey on Saturday, praising Afghan forces' growing security responsibilities in their capital, an AFP corresondent said.

Kabul - The French army transferred command of NATO troops stationed in Kabul to Turkey on Saturday, praising Afghan forces' growing security responsibilities in their capital, an AFP corresondent said.

"I want to highlight what is to me the greatest achievement of the past months: the transfer of lead security responsibility to Afghan national security forces," General Marcel Druart told a ceremony at Kabul's main Camp Warehouse.

Since the beginning of 2009, NATO troops have only operated in Kabul's "third circle," while police control the "first circle" and the Afghan army operates in the "second circle", a French army spokesman said.

The French contingent in Kabul, present since 2002, has been redeployed to nearby Kapisa province and to the Saroubi district in Kabul province.

Turkey's General Levent Colak said: "Turkish soldiers' presence in Afghanistan should not only be taken as merely a military task.

"The common cultural assets... religion, values and tradition, and the goodwill of us will help to prevail (over) all difficulties."

Some 3,000 French soldiers are currently in Afghanistan. Turkey recently more than doubled its quota from 900 to 1,700 troops in preparation for its command in Kabul, which is to last one year.

AFP/Expatica

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