July 5 - Afghans in parts of Helmand province prepare to take on their own security in the first steps of a transition expected to end in 2014. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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Preparing for transition in Afghanistan.
In the Laki area of Helmand province locals are preparing to take on their own security.
U.S. Marines sit down with tribal elders. While Taliban fighters have been pushed out of the area, security still tops the agenda.
Helmand province is one of seven areas across the country that will take over security responsibilities from NATO.
SOUNDBITE: Captain Andrew Gourgoumis, saying (English):
"If anything, in the area, we have seen security get good very quickly and now we are just trying to catch up with those other elements to stabilize it and we're starting to build infrastructure, build upon the existing police forces, so I don't really see it a problem, it is something that we're always planning for and leaning towards."
An elected community council is helping with the transition
SOUNDBITE: Community Council member Haji Amir Shah Jan, saying (Pashto):
"If the coalition forces, if they are leaving and our government doesn't stand on its own feet, then we cannot implement some of the projects that we have here. But I want to make sure that before the coalition forces leave, our government is stable, and maybe they will help us here, otherwise we do not have anyone."
With more support on the way, one major project is building a permanent base to house the Afghan National Police and Afghan Security forces.
Another new project in Laki is a clinic for locals. The fear is they will run out of medicine.
SOUNDBITE: Dr. Mohammad Habi Jan, saying (Pashto):
"I have a lot of patients here, the government has given me four months worth of medicine but I've used most of it in the first two months."
The transition coincides with the start of a gradual reduction of US troops, with a full transition expected by the end of 2014.
Analysts say almost a decade after the war was launched the future can offer no guarantee for better times ahead.
Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.
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