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Obama Welcomes Afghan Security Transfer

Security officials stand guard in front of the house of Arsala Rahmani, senior peace negotiator, in Kabul, after his murder.
U.S. President Barack Obama has welcomed the latest transfer of security from NATO to Afghan forces, saying it is "an important step forward" toward achieving objectives in Afghanistan.

The security transfer, announced by Kabul on May 13, takes in 230 districts and the centers of all provincial capitals, including the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar city.

The announcement came the same day attackers shot dead an influential peace negotiator in the capital, Kabul.

Arsala Rahmani, 68, was among the most senior and potentially pivotal members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, set up by President Hamid Karzai two years ago to liaise with the insurgents.

The Taliban denied involvement in the killing of Rahmani, a defector from the Taliban who retained strong ties to the movement.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters