Photograph by Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images.
In what everyone describes as a big victory for both the United States and Afghanistan, the two countries were finally able to agree on a draft of a long-delayed partnership agreement that makes it clear the United States won’t be abandoning Afghanistan after the withdrawal of most NATO combat troops in 2014. Although details of the deal were not released, it broadly outlines American support for Afghanistan until 2024, reports the New York Times, noting the agreement “is in many respects more symbolic than substantive.”
The agreement does not specify dollar figures, or even detail what the role of U.S. troops will be. Still, the United States was eager to reach a deal that would provide general guidelines for any of its forces beyond 2014, while the Afghan government needed to demonstrate the country won’t be abandoned, notes the Associated Press. The fact that they could reach an agreement now is seen as particularly significant because relations between the two countries have been particularly tense in recent months due to a number of incidents involving U.S. troops, points out Reuters.
Both Afghanistan and the United States seem eager to finalize the agreement before next month’s NATO summit in Chicago. But in what the Los Angeles Times says could be a “sign of continuing tensions” the two sides had slightly different views of the latest developments. President Hamid Karzai’s office said the agreement “is now ready for signature” while U.S. officials insisted details were still being worked out.