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Afghan-US Bilateral Sequrity Pact Approved; Obama Approves Fresh Guidelines
Nov 28, 2014

Afghanistan approved agreements that will allow about 12,500 NATO-led troops to stay on next year as the National Army and police struggle to hold back the Taliban. US-led NATO combat operations will finish at the end of this year, but the Taliban have launched a series of recent offensives that have severely tested Afghan soldiers and police.

The new NATO mission—named Resolute Support—will focus on supporting the Afghan forces, in parallel with US counter-terrorism operations.

The Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States, and a similar pact with NATO, were the source of huge friction between the Afghan Government and its allies under previous President Hamid Karzai. But Ashraf Ghani, who became President in September, reset ties by signing the long-awaited deals on his first day in power.

It is a good step in strengthening Afghanistan’s national sovereignty.  The Afghan security forces will be in charge of full security of their country, and will be further equipped and strengthened.

Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign the security accord came to symbolise the breakdown of Afghan-US relations after the optimism of 2001, when the Taliban regime was ousted from power with US assistance.

Obama Approves Fresh Guidelines: On the other side, US President Barack Obama has extended the remit of those US troops set to remain in Afghanistan next year.They will be able to carry out missions against the Taliban and other groups that threaten them.The new order also allows air support from US jets, bombers and drones for Afghan combat missions. President Barack Obama has approved plans giving US military commanders broader authority in helping Afghanistan forces repel Taliban fighters after US and NATO combat operations formally end in December. The decision, made in recent weeks, will allow US forces to carry out limited missions against the Taliban seen as necessary to protect Americans and support Afghanistan's security forces.

Barack Obama had announced in last May after a visit to see US troops in Afghanistan that US combat operations in the country would end in December and that troop levels would be reduced to 9,800.  Under Obama's plan, that number would be reduced by roughly half by the end of 2015. By the end of 2016, the US presence would be cut to a normal embassy presence with a security assistance office in Kabul, as was done in Iraq.

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