US, Afghanistan reach final agreement on security pact
The United States and Afghanistan have reached final agreement on the language of a security agreement governing the US military presence in the country after 2014, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday, dpa reported.
Kerry's announcement came a day before Kabul was set to host a Loya Jirga, or Grand Assembly, for 2,500 tribal elders to consider the agreement. The elders could reject the pact or suggest far-reaching changes.
"We have agreed on the language that would be submitted to a Loya Jirga, but they have to pass it," Kerry said in a briefing at the State Department, declining to comment on the details.
Kerry said the deal was reached Wednesday morning in a series of conversations with President Hamid Karzai.
Kerry said Karzai did not ask Washington to apologize for civilian casualties.
"I honestly don't know where the idea of an apology started," Kerry said. "But let me be clear: President Karzai didn't ask for an apology. There was no discussion of an apology."
The terms of the security agreement deal with the "very limited role" of the US military after 2014 - training, advising and assisting Afghan security forces. "There is no combat role for United States forces," Kerry said.
The agreement is an effort to clarify for Afghans and US forces exactly what the rules are in the ongoing relationship, he said.
"It's very important for President Karzai to know that the issues that he's raised with us for many years have been properly addressed, and it's very important for us to know that issues we have raised with him for a number of years are properly addressed," Kerry said.