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Second Stage of Afghanistan Security Transition Announced: Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, welcomed the Afghan government's release of a second round of sites that will transition back to Afghan security forces starting early next year. "There is no doubt that Afghanistan is moving forward," stated Allen in an ISAF release. He added, "The Afghan national security forces, who have made dramatic improvements in their development and effectiveness, will assume responsibility for security for 50 percent of the Afghan population." The list of new areas covers 18 provinces, with some entire provinces slated to transition, while other areas cover cities or districts, according to ISAF. Afghan President Hamid Karzai released the list on Nov. 27, some eight months after announcing the first stage. "Transition is on schedule, and NATO will continue its efforts to ensure that the Afghans take security responsibility across the country by the end of 2014," added Simon Gass, NATO's senior civilian representative in Afghanistan. (See also Fox News report)