Afghans Take Over Security From NATO
As bomb hits western Kabul
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 18, 2013 6:36 AM CDT
In this Thursday, June 13, 2013 photo, Afghan National Army soldiers stand in position in the Sangin district of Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan)

(Newser) – It's a big day in Afghanistan: NATO has officially put Afghan forces in charge of the country's security. NATO forces will now serve as support to the Afghans ahead of NATO's withdrawal in a year and a half, CBS News notes. President Hamid Karzai and NATO head Anders Fogh Rasmussen attended a handover ceremony in Kabul, but not far away, violence continued: A bomb targeting an Afghan politician killed three civilians in western Kabul. Some 30 others were wounded, though former cabinet member Mohammed Mohaqiq survived the blast.

The transfer of power was largely symbolic, the New York Times points out, since Afghan troops have been in charge of the effort against the Taliban in more than three-quarters of the country this year. Now, however, they are generally set to work more independently—without US air support, partnered units, and medical helicopters. The Times recounts a case in point: When two Afghan soldiers were hit with mines and a Taliban attack, "No one came to our aid and did anything," even though US helicopters were just above them. The summer will be a testing period for Afghan forces, the Times notes.