BEIJING, April 23 (Xinhuanet) -- The US and Afghanistan have reached a deal on a long-awaited strategic partnership agreement. The deal will define the scope and nature of a US presence in the country after the pullout of most NATO combat troops in 2014.
The deal comes at a time when relations between Washington and Kabul remain badly strained by a number of incidents involving US soldiers that have infuriated public opinion.
The agreement spells out the framework for a future U.S. role in Afghanistan, including aid assistance and governance advice. But it will not specify whether a reduced number of US troops, possibly special forces, and advisers will remain in the country after NATO’s 2014 withdrawal deadline. That issue is to be covered in a separate status of forces agreement.
Negotiations on the Strategic Partnership Agreement were delayed for months until U.S. negotiators agreed to Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s demands. These were to hand over operation of American prisons in the country to Afghan control and to hand over leadership of night raids to Afghan forces.
Special Report: Afghanistan Situation