Afghanistan and the United States have signed the Bilateral Security Agreement which allows the presence of foreign troops on Afghan soil after the withdrawal of NATO forces at the end of 2014.
The US ambassador in Kabul, James B. Cunningham, and the newly appointed security adviser to the Afghan president, Hanif Atmar, initialed the document to 15.15 local time on live TV.
The signing of the military agreement comes a day after the inauguration of the new president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, who had already announced that if he won the elections he would seal the pact with the United States.
Ghani, who will lead a government of national unity with his election rival Abdullah Abdullah, allegedly faces the challenge of a growing Taliban insurgency just as international troops prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of the year.
The agreement will allow the presence of an American military contingent after 2014, which had been rejected by former president Hamid Karzai.
According to the text agreed last year, and that was approved by a Loya Jirga or National Assembly, the Government of Afghanistan authorizes the presence of 12,500 foreign soldiers for the next two years. From that total, 9,800 will be Americans, who will be available after the departure of NATO forces.
Both Abdullah and Ghani had backed an agreement ensuring that the NATO mission took charge of training Afghan forces. The agreement also provides a budget of $4 billion annually which will allegedly be used to equip and finance military operations.
The agreement will cope with the supposed increasing harassment of the Taliban, that has risen after the electoral dispute during the June presidential elections.
Luis R. Miranda is the Founder and Editor of The Real Agenda. His 16 years of experience in Journalism include television, radio, print and Internet news. Luis obtained his Journalism degree from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, where he graduated in Mass Media Communication in 1998. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Among his most distinguished interviews are: Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres and James Hansen from NASA Space Goddard Institute. Read more about Luis.