Afghan official: security alert ahead of new year

Afghanistan's Interior Ministry says police and military are on high alert for next week's new year's celebrations, when the Afghan president is announcing a plan for the gradual hand over of security responsibilities from NATO to local forces.

Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said Saturday insurgents are expected to orchestrate attacks to mar the March 21 celebrations, which mark both the first day of spring and the Afghan calendar year. There are reports insurgents will carry out a series of bombings and suicide attacks in major cities, including the capital.

Bashary says more than 13,000 Afghan security forces will be deployed in Kabul and U.S.-led forces are also ready to help.