Afghan security forces have officially taken security responsibility for Konduz Province in northern Afghanistan.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force handed over security responsibilities to Afghan forces in five of the six districts of the province.
Speaking at the handover ceremony at Konduz airport, Interior Minister Bismellah Mohammadi said that forces took over security responsibility of Ali Abad, Char Dara, Qala-e Zal, Imam Saheb, and Dasht-e Archi in addition to the security of Konduz city.
The handover is part of the third phase of security transition from the international troops.
Completion of the third phase, announced in May, will give Afghan forces the lead security responsibility over 75 percent of the population.
The transition began last year in July when seven largely peaceful areas were handed over to Afghan forces.
Based on reporting by dpa and RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan