U.S.-Afghan security pact finalized

April 22, 2012 at 11:29 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, April 22 (UPI) -- Afghan and U.S. officials said they finalized a draft security deal that will be the framework for their relationship after U.S. troops depart in 2014.

The officials, who declined to be identified, told The New York Times the deal was struck Sunday and the document would be sent to Parliament and President Hamid Karzai for approval.

The pact, which will also have to be signed by President Obama, pledges U.S. support for Afghanistan for 10 years after the U.S. troop withdrawal is completed in 2014, the officials said.

One Afghan official told the Times, "It covers the broad spectrum of the existing, broad-based, comprehensive partnership between the two countries with the view towards sustaining that for at least another decade beyond the end of transition in 2014."

The draft, negotiated over the course of nine months, addressed the sticky issues of authority over nighttime raids by U.S. forces and the operation of U.S. prisons in Afghanistan.

"The new security pact with Afghanistan is a formula for continued war," David Cortright, director of policy studies at the University of Notre Dame's Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, said in a release.

"The pact allows the United States to maintain a large presence of military forces in Afghanistan after 2014. This means that insurgency and armed violence will continue, creating further instability and suffering for the Afghan people and U.S. troops. Peace requires the withdrawal of all foreign military forces and the negotiation of a comprehensive political agreement among Afghan stakeholders," Cortright said.

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