NATO troops exit 90pc of Afghan bases

KABUL (PAN): The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Tuesday said foreign soldiers had exited more than 700 military bases ahead of their withdrawal from the country in 2014.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, ISAF spokesman Gen. Heinz Feldmann said Afghan security forces were capable of maintaining security across the war-devastated country.
He added: “During its presence in Afghanistan, ISAF once had over 800 small and big military bases, but the number has now fallen to less than 100. We are jointly working with the Afghan finance ministry to decide which bases should be handed over to Afghan forces.”
But Gen. Heinz declined giving information about how many bases have been handed over to the Afghan forces.
The presence of five or six bases in a single area was meaningless, the ISAF spokesman argued, saying conducting military affairs from one base in an area would be a proper approach.
The destruction or handover of the bases to the Afghan side was a well-thought-out programme, in which Afghanistan had a major say, the official continued.
He reiterated ISAF’s optimism of Afghan forces coping with security threats, particularly during the upcoming presidential election in 2014.
International service members were ready to support Afghan security personnel in case of need, Gen. Feldmann concluded.