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US insists on signing securty agreement with Afghanistan before yearend

November 25, 2013, 5:15 UTC+3 WASHINGTON
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WASHINGTON, November 25, 4:51 /ITAR-TASS/. US Secretary of State John Kerry has welcomed a decision of the Loya Jirga -- a gathering of the elders of Afghanistan's tribes -- to back a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) which will regulate American military presence in that country after 2014.

"The critical next step must be to get the BSA signed in short order", said Kerry's statement issued on Sunday.

His opinion is that the agreement "will lay a firm foundation for our two countries to continue working together toward a more secure and prosperous future for Afghanistan".

The US believes that the BSA should be signed before the end of the year so that it would have time to plan out the stay of the limited contingent of American troops in Afghan territory. Washington intends to leav about 10,000 its soldiers and officers there to train Afghan servicemen and assist them in fighting the remaining terrorist groups of Al Qaida and Taliban militants.

Nevertheless Afghan President Hamid Karzai so far refuses to sign the already fixed BSA text, demanding US additional guarantees of non-intervention in the internal affairs of the republic and limitations on the actions of American troops who will stay in its territory. "Before I sign such a document, the USA must ensure stability in our country," Karzai told the Loya Jirga in Kabul.

A pullout of the US and NATO main forces, the strength of whihc is now 87,000, is to be completed towards the end of 2014.

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