U.S. And Afghanistan Reach Long-Awaited Agreement
The Associated Press says: The pact is key to the U.S. exit strategy in Afghanistan because it provides guidelines for any American forces who remain after the withdrawal deadline and for financial help to the impoverished country and its security forces.
For the Afghan government, it is a way to show its people that their U.S. allies are not just walking away.
The draft of the agreement will now be given to Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai and the Afghan Parliament, as well as to President Barack Obama and the White House, for approval.
The New York Times says: The talks to reach the deal were intense, and at times talks broke down when they became a stage for the geopolitics of the region around Afghanistan, where two powerful neighbors, Iran and Pakistan, are opposed to long-term American ties. But many Afghans, including some who are ambivalent about the American presence, believe that the country’s survival is tied to having such an agreement with Washington. They believe it will make clear to the Taliban and to regional powers that the Americans will not abandon Afghanistan now, as Washington did in the 1990s after the Soviets were pushed out.
Insurgents linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida continue to be a threat 10 years into the war, and Afghan-U.S. relations have been strained this year after incidents of American soldiers urinating on corpses, going on killing sprees, burning Qurans, and posing with dismembered bodies.
Neither side would gives specific details about the agreement.