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US, Afghanistan reach deal for 'strategic partnership' after 2014 troop withdrawal

Washington, Mon, 23 Apr 2012 ANI

Washington, Apr 23 (ANI): US and Afghan negotiators have finalized a strategic partnership agreement outlining American support for the war-torn nation following the withdrawal of NATO troops at the end of 2014.

The document, which must be reviewed by the Afghan parliament and US security agencies and signed by both nations' presidents, offers a broad guarantee that the American role in Afghanistan will not end as abruptly as some feared it might.

The document pledges American financial support for Afghanistan through 2024 and refers to the ongoing US role in bolstering Afghan democracy and civil society, The Washington Post reports.

But the specifics of the US commitment have yet to be formally outlined and could be governed by future agreements, the paper said.

American officials have earlier described the strategic partnership agreement as a key signal to the Afghan government and the insurgency that the US will not suddenly abandon its fight against the Taliban.

According to the paper, at this stage, the document provides only a vaguely worded reassurance, leaving many to guess at what the US commitment means in practice.

"The nature, function and size of the U.S. security commitment still has to be worked out," the paper quoted a US official familiar with the negotiations, as saying.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had earlier refused to consider the agreement until American-led night raids were halted and the US handed over its main military prison to Afghan officials.

This issue was resolved with the signing of recent deals, which cleared the way for the partnership agreement before a key NATO summit next month. (ANI)


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