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U.S., Afghan gov'ts start strategic talks

Nov. 15, 2012 at 11:58 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- A strategic agreement between the U.S. and Afghan governments envisions no permanent U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, a statement declared.

The U.S. and Afghan governments started negotiations Thursday in Kabul on a bilateral security agreement. U.S. and international forces are looking to leave Afghanistan in 2014 as national forces gain strength.

"Both sides clarified that these negotiations are premised on the understanding that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan or a presence that is perceived as a threat to Afghanistan's neighbors," the statement read.

The governments said the "guiding principles" of bilateral negotiations would focus on Afghan interests while advancing a shared interest in eliminating transnational terrorist threats.

Military training may extend beyond the 2014 deadline. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said this week that he was concerned cuts in defense spending may harm long-term goals in multilateral operations like the Afghan conflict.

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