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Afghanistan wants full security handover by 2014

The first international conference in Kabul focuses on the country’s shaky future.

Hamid Karzai and Hillary Clinton

AFGHAN PRESIDENT Hamid Karzai has outlined his aims for the future of the country in an international conference held in  Kabul today.

The future of Afghan development, reconstruction and security policy was discussed for the first time since the US-led invasion in 2001.

Over the past number of years other international meetings have been held about Afghanistan, however this meeting is the first on Afhan soil – and the first to discuss the Afghan government regaining control of the country.

Representatives from around 70 countries and organisations attended the conference, including the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

The conference has agreed that Afghan security forces should begin taking some responsibility this year, with an aim of achieving a full handover of military responsibility for all of the country’s 34 provinces in 2014.

At the moment, NATO and the US have 143,000 troops in Afghanistan. That number is set to peak over the next few weeks to 150,000.

A plan for at least 50% of development aid from the international community to be channelled through the Afghan government was also outlined by Karzai.

The talks centred around seven main issues: security, aid, governance and corruption, women’s rights, economic and social development, peace outreach and integration, and regional cooperation.

The plan to offer Taliban members jobs and money in exchange for them ending their campaign was also on the agenda, according to reports from Al Jazeera.

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This conference comes at a turning point in the Afghan war: June was the deadliest month for US forces, and NATO and Afghan troops are currently pushing into Taliban strongholds. There  has also been a recent changeover of US security command. Gen David Petraeus assumed control of troops after his predecessor, Gen Stanley McChrystal was fired for insubordination.

Kabul was under extremely heavy security for the conference but despite this, explosions were heard in the capital in the hours before Hillary Clinton arrived.

Afghan forces ambushed a compound on the outskirts of the city later in the morning, killing several people who they believed to be plotting an attack.

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