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Afghan, US sign security pact; US forces to stay past 2014

KABUL: Officials from Afghanistan and the United States on Tuesday signed a long-delayed security agreement to allow American troops to stay in the country after the end of the year, fulfilling a campaign promise by new President Ashraf Ghani.

National security adviser Hanif Atmar and U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham signed the bilateral security agreement in a televised ceremony at the presidential palace, one day after Ghani was inaugurated.

Ghani’s predecessor, Hamid Karzai, had long refused to agree to the deal, souring his ties with the United States.

Under the terms of agreement, about 12,000 foreign troops are expected to stay to train and assist Afghan security forces after the U.S.-led military mission formally ends its combat mission at the end of 2014. – Reuters

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