Newly graduated Afghan National Police officers demonstrate their skills during a graduation ceremony at a National Police training centre in Jalalabad December 27, 2012. REUTERS/ Parwiz
Afghan military and police forces will soon begin the next stage in their takeover of NATO responsibilities to stare down Islamist forces still waging a campaign of violence.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced that his country's forces will expand patrols and efforts to establish law and order from covering 75% of Afghanistan's population now, to 87% over the next year.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed the news.
"This is a significant step towards our shared goal of seeing Afghans fully in charge of their own security by the end of 2014," Rasmussen said in a statement on Monday. "The Afghan army and police are steadily growing in capacity and confidence."