- Associated Press - Sunday, May 13, 2012

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan government on Sunday said it is taking the lead from the U.S.-led coalition for providing security in areas that eventually will make up 75 percent of the country’s population.

Ashraf Ghani, who is head of a commission overseeing the transition to Afghan-led security, announced a list of areas in which Afghan forces will take the lead from foreign troops. He said this stage, the third in the transition process, should be complete in about six months.

Earlier stages put Afghans in control of areas representing 50 percent of Afghanistan‘s population of more than 30 million.

The transition process is a key part of NATO’s exit strategy from Afghanistan. The fifth and last stage is to be completed by the end of 2014, when most foreign combat troops will leave.