NAD ALI, Afghanistan - At least one former Taliban stronghold in southern Helmand province has seen a big enough improvement in security to make it a likely candidate for a second wave of handovers to Afghan control by early next year, British forces say.
Violence remains high in parts of Helmand province, but districts such as Nad Ali offer NATO forces hope they can push forward with a slow-but-steady plan for gradually transferring security responsibilities to Afghan forces.
NATO will pass security control in the provincial capital Lashkar Gah to Afghan forces within the next week, part of the first wave of transfers. The whole country will follow by the end of 2014, paving the way for the exit of most foreign troops.
But while there has been huge focus on the seven areas that will kick-start the process, there has been little public discussion of where next, or how fast transition will proceed.