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Afghanistan, U.S. Agree On Strategic Partnership Document
2012-04-22 18:01:59 (227 weeks ago)
Posted By: Intellpuke
Afghanistan and the United States have agreed the contents of a long-awaited deal to define their relationship after most foreign troops leave at the end of 2014, although the document sidesteps some of the thorniest questions about the U.S. military presence.

Negotiations on the strategic partnership deal have dragged on for over a year, initially held up by two demands from Afghan President Hamid Karzai that he said were critical to restoring national sovereignty: Afghan control of jails and an end to night raids on Afghan homes.

Western officials argued for months that the first demand was not practical and the second could undermine the military effort, but they eventually agreed compromises on both.

The main U.S. prison is now in the middle of a six-month hand-over, and Afghan forces have taken control of night raids, under two separate agreements signed within a month of each other, paving the way for the strategic partnership deal.

"Today Afghanistan and the U.S. initialed and locked the text of the strategic partnership agreement," said Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi. "This means the text is closed, and both sides will now review the document and do a final consultation. In the U.S. it will go to the houses of Congress and the president; in Afghanistan the president will consult with national leaders plus both houses of parliament."

(story continues below)

Both sides agreed to set aside difficult questions about long-term U.S. access to military bases and the status of any U.S. forces that do stay on in Afghanistan. These issues will be negotiated in a separate deal some time before 2014.

Washington and its allies wanted to have the U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership agreed before May, when a NATO conference in Chicago, Illinois, is expected to pledge long-term help to Kabul with finances and military training.

By opening the way for a smaller but longer-term U.S. presence in Afghanistan, the agreement would give western leaders a rationale for supporting Kabul after combat troops are withdrawn in 2014.

It also aims to reassure Afghans that the west will not cut and run, and is critical to Afghanistan's financial stability. The World Bank forecasts the country will have a $7 billion (£4.4 billion) hole in its annual budget after 2014.

"We are expecting the signature some time before Chicago, although there is no date yet," said Faizi.

Earlier this week it looked as if the pact might have been thrown back into question when Karzai demanded that the U.S. write a pledge for funding of the Afghan security forces into the document.

"They are providing us with money, there is no doubt about that. But they say they will not mention the amount in the agreement. We say: give us less, but mention it in the agreement. Give us less, but write it down," Karzai was reported by the Associated Press to have said in a speech in the capital commemorating a revered Afghan writer.

The international community has informally agreed to spend around $4 billion a year supporting the Afghan police and army, with the bulk of that coming from the U.S., some from European allies and around $500 million a year from the Afghan budget.

Karzai said he wanted a written commitment of at least $2bn, rather than a verbal promise of a higher figure, but the deal does not contain any firm figures. The U.S. government was not available for comment.

Intellpuke: You can read this article by Guardian Correspondent Emma Graham-Harrison, reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, in context here:

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Readers Comments
afghanistan war
By: Anonymous
2012-04-23 02:26:43
AGREEMENT , AGREEMENT what agreement ,and for which agreement, has there been an agreement ,between occupier army and the occupied country .are the occupied country is independent to negotiate an agreement. US is an occupier , it can get agreed by force whatever it likes.
If we go back in eighties , Russian, left the AFGHANISTAN with an agreement with
Puppet afghan govt. As soon as they left afghan govt collapsed .This seen is again going to happen, but this time US is trying to keep its forces to such an level to at least safe the
Kabul from falling to the Taliban’s.\

This strategy will not work ,except continuing the bloodshed in this country. The best strategy is to leave Afghanistan unconditionally and completely and let the afghans decide their future by themselves.
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