x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

US and Afghanistan finalise strategic partnership for post-2014

No details were released of the content of the draft agreement, which will now be reviewed by the US and Afghan presidents, the US Congress and the Afghan parliament.

KABUL // Afghan and US officials finalised a long-awaited strategic partnership deal yesterday that is meant to set forth guidelines for US involvement in Afghanistan as forces draw down, the two governments said.

Both parties had said that they expected to sign the deal before a Nato summit in May but a series of disagreements had threatened to derail the partnership in recent months.

Some of the most contentious issues were removed from the broader pact into separate memorandums of understanding.

No details were released of the content of the draft agreement, which will now be reviewed by the US and Afghan presidents, the US Congress and the Afghan parliament.

The 130,000-member US-led Nato force helping the Afghan government fight a decade-long Taliban insurgency is due to end combat operations and pull out by the end of 2014.

Kabul has already achieved two preconditions for signing the treaty - full control over the US-run Bagram prison and controversial special forces night raids against Taliban insurgents.

"The document finalised today provides a strong foundation for the security of Afghanistan, the region and the world and is a document for the development of the region," the Afghan national security adviser, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, was quoted as saying.

The US ambassador, Ryan Crocker, and Mr Spanta initialled the document at a ceremony in the capital, a statement from President Hamid Karzai's office said.

US embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall confirmed the same information.

At the signing, Mr Spanta said the agreement had taken more than a year and a half of work, according to the Afghan statement.

* Associated Press and Agence France-Presse