NATO begins transfer of power to Afghan Army

The Takeaway

Afghan National Army Soldiers at the Kabul Military Training Center, Feb. 24, 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ernesto Hernandez Fonte)

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Late last month, President Obama gave a speech laying out his plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. "Even as there are dark days ahead in Afghanistan, the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance. These long wars will come to a responsible end," Obama said.

Today is one of the first steps toward that "responsible end" of U.S. and NATO involvement in Afghanistan, as NATO troops hand power over to the Afghan National Army in Lashkar Gar, the capital of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.

Jeffrey Dressler, a senior research analyst at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, is keeping a close watch and assessing whether the Afghan National Army is up to the challenge.

"What we’ve seen certainly ahead of the transfer responsibilities is the Taliban launching attacks and really trying to test the resolve of the Afghan national security forces," he told The Takeaway.

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