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Afghanistan’s new president signs security deals with US, NATO

September 30, 2014, 20:11 UTC+3 ABU DHABI
The security pacts were signed at the presidential palace in Kabul marking the first crucial international decision of Ahmadzai a day following his inauguration on Monday
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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (R) and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (R) and Chief Executive Dr. Abdullah Abdullah

© EPA/JAWAD JALALI

ABU DHABI, September 30. /ITAR-TASS/. New President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai signed on Tuesday security deals with the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allowing for the significant part of the international military contingent to remain in the Central Asian country after the expiration of the current year.

The security pacts were signed at the presidential palace in Kabul marking the first crucial international decision of Ahmadzai a day following his inauguration on Monday.

The US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have been fighting Taliban militants in the Central Asian state since 2001 and was scheduled to pull out from Afghanistan by the end of this year, passing the responsibility for the security provision in the country to local Afghani military and police forces.

Tuesday’s signing of the military pacts with US and NATO was attended besides Ahmadzai by Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser Hanif Atmar, US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham, NATO’s senior representative in Afghanistan Maurits Jochems and other officials.

“Our country will manage to maintain its sovereignty due to security guarantees, which such step is granting us,” Ahmadzai said during the signing ceremony. “The agreement with the United States and NATO fully corresponds with Afghanistan’s interests.”

According to The Wall Street Journal daily, Afghanistan’s security pacts with the United States and NATO will allow for some 12,000 foreign troops remain in the Central Asian state after 2014 and also provide to further financial aid’s flow to Kabul.

"The agreement is more than a commitment, it is a choice. It is a choice by Afghanistan to consolidate international support," The Wall Street Journal quoted Ambassador Cunningham as saying on Tuesday. "It is a choice by the United States to continue cooperating with our Afghan partners on two important security missions."

Former Finance Minister Ahmadzai won the second round of the presidential election in Afghanistan earlier this year in a tight race with his only contender, former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

Prior to being elected to the post of president Ahmadzai repeatedly stated that he intended to sign an agreement with the United States on the continued deployment of US military contingent in Afghanistan following Washington’s withdrawal of its military personnel. Abdullah expressed the same intention during his presidential campaign.

However, the signing of the military pacts was eventually threatened by the political deadlock in the country as Abdullah refused to recognize the outcome of the voting’s second round on June 14 and demanded that the results be revoked allegedly due to mass violations at polling stations.

The political standoff was eventually resolved as both political rivals came to terms of sharing the power in the country with Abdullah taking the seat of the chief executive officer, a post similar to the one of the country’s prime minister, and Ahmadzai taking the post of the president.

Afghanistan’s previous president Khamid Karzai, who ruled the troubled Central Asian country since December 2004, was not running in the elections as the constitution did not allow him to run for a third term of office. Last November in Washington Karzai refused to sign an agreement extending the deployment of US and NATO forces in the country.

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