KABUL, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Afghan newspapers have given wide coverage to the negotiations between the U.S. and Afghanistan on a security pact.
The daily Mandegar, in a story headlined "new chapter in relations of two strategic allies", reported Saturday that negotiations on security agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan began on Thursday morning in Kabul and lasted for several hours.
"Talks on security agreement will open a new chapter in bilateral relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan," Mandegar quoted Afghan ambassador to Washington and head of Afghan negotiating team, Eklil Hakimi, as saying.
According to the newspaper, Hakimi said that the talks with the U.S. would involve the number and status of U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan and cooperation in defense between the two countries after the pullout of the NATO-led forces from the war- battered country by the end of 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama signed the strategic partnership agreement with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai in Kabul on May 2, 2012, granting stay for some U.S. troops after 2014.
According to a fact sheet provided by the White House, the Strategic Partnership Agreement "provides for the possibility of U. S. forces in Afghanistan after 2014, for the purposes of training Afghan Forces and targeting the remnants of al-Qaeda."
The White House said the U.S. side "do not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan," but the agreement "commits Afghanistan to provide U.S. personnel access to and use of Afghan facilities through 2014 and beyond."
James Warlick, Deputy Special Representative of U.S. on Afghanistan and Pakistan, led the U.S. negotiating team in the talks which may last for several months.
"The documents will provide legal authorities for U.S. armed forces and our civilian components to continue presence in Afghanistan with the full approval of the government of Afghanistan," Warlick told a joint press briefing with Hakimi in Kabul on Thursday.
The controversial security agreement, if signed, would guarantee the presence of U.S. military at least for several years in Afghanistan.
"Ambassador Warlick said the talks on the new security pact focused on respect for the sovereignty of both countries," the daily Outlook writes.
The U.S. diplomat, according to the newspaper, said bilateral security cooperation would guarantee peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The heads of both teams had assured the neighboring countries of Afghanistan that inking security agreement would not risk the security of any third country.