From the BBC:  Nato has handed over control of the central Afghan province of Bamiyan to Afghan security forces.

It is the first of seven areas to be passed to local forces under a plan announced by President Karzai in March.

Bamiyan is one of the country’s most secure provinces but it is a poor region, heavily reliant on foreign aid.

The handover is seen as a critical step in a transition of power before foreign troops end combat operations in 2014.

Senior Afghan ministers and foreign ambassadors flew down from the capital, Kabul to take part in a transition ceremony that for security reasons was not announced in advance and was not broadcast live.

The ceremony was held at Bamiyan’s police headquarters. The police will take responsibility for security in the province as there are no army units stationed there.

International forces from New Zealand will remain in the area for the time being, but they will be under Afghan control.  (graphic: BBC)