What President Barack Obama once called a "war of necessity," enters a new stage in 2013 as Afghan forces are expected to take the lead in the war. Brigadier General Gunter Katz in Kabul was made available to Reuters by the Pentagon. (SOUNDBITE)(English)BRIGADIER GENERAL GUNTER KATZ , SAYING: "We expect that by mid 2013, by mid of this year the Afghan forces will take over the lead of security throughout the whole of the country." The US-led war was launched following the September 11th attacks by an al Qaeda network harbored by Afghanistan's Taliban rulers. (SOUNDBITE)(English)BRIGADIER GENERAL GUNTER KATZ , SAYING: "Our assessment is that here in Afghanistan we were quite successful destroying the terror network and keep on putting pressure on the remaining insurgents, we know that there will still be fighting after 2015, but we are very optimistic and our assessment is clear that the Afghanis are in a position to carry on that fight." More than 3,200 foreign forces have died in Afghanistan since the war was launched in 2001.