Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Afghan forces are taking over responsibility for security for the entire country from the international military coalition.
Mr. Karzai said Tuesday at a security handover ceremony on the outskirts of the capital, Kabul, that Afghan forces would take the lead in all security efforts, a major milestone of the 12-year-old war.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmusen said the main effort of the international military alliance "is shifting from combat to support." He said that alliance troops "will no longer plan, execute or lead operations."
Mr. Karzai also revealed the government will send envoys to Qatar to try to open peace talks with the Taliban.
The security transition was marred by a bomb blast Tuesday in another area of Kabul that targeted Afghan lawmaker Mohammed Mohaqiq, who survived the blast. Three people were killed in the bombing.
The Taliban has been executing an intense campaign of violence in the run-up to the handover.