On Wednesday, NATO troops in the Afghan city of Lashkar Gah handed over control to local Afghan forces. The province of Bamiyan and the eastern town of Mehter Lam had already been handed over.

Many see the handover of Lashkar Gah as a critical step in a transition of power before foreign troops end their combat operations in 2014. Lashkar Gah is the capital of Helmand province in southwestern Afghanistan and is considered the most contentious of seven areas on the list for handover this week in the first phase of a transition process.

Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, discusses with guests: Helena Malikyar, a consultant to the UNDP and USAID; Caroline Wadhams, a senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress; and Janan Mosazai, spokesman for the Afghan foreign ministry.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Wednesday, July 20, 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera