Agreement reached on immediate future of US troop involvement in Afghanistan

by Dillon Mack news editor

Amidst the constant battles within Congress at home, the United States has been negotiating a deal concerning future troop involvement in Afghanistan.

According to CNN, Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai reached an agreement on Wednesday, Nov. 20 concerning the future of U.S. troop deployment and involvement within the country.

As the article reports, the agreement would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015, and would promise continued U.S. troop presence as long as 2024, but may be terminated early or extended per an agreement between the two countries. The presence of troops would be as a support role to the Afghan forces.

The agreement stated, as reported by CNN, “U.S. military counterterrorism operations are intended to complement and support (the Afghan militarys) counterterrorism operations, with the goal of maintaining (the Afghan militarys) lead and with full respect for Afghan sovereignty and full regard for the safety and security of the Afghan people, including in their homes.”

Along with this, the agreement spells out that there will be continued funding from the U.S. government to the Afghan security forces, and ensures that the U.S. military will have sole rights to prosecute its own members for any criminal acts committed within Afghanistan. According to USA Today, initial recommendations by the U.S. military call for roughly 13,600 troops to remain within Afghanistan, down from the 60,000 troops that are currently deployed there.

In a speech after the agreement had been reached, as reported by NBC News, Karzai commented on the strained relationship and trust that the two countries have had. He stated, “In the past 12 years we have had both good and bad times with the U.S. Sometimes our relations are good and sometimes the relations are terrible.”

However, he also expressed the need for such an agreement between the two countries: “We need a good friend in the U.S. You cannot live in this global village without a friend — but you need to have a strong, faithful friend.”

As the USA Today article noted, the night raids and civilian casualties of the past have been one of the most straining issues in the relationship between these two countries. However, as is spelled out in the agreement, this will be dealt with by the supportive role that the U.S. military will now play.

In the article, Kerry noted, “Its very important for President Karzai to know that the issues that hes raised with us for many years have been properly addressed, and its very important for us to know that issues we have raised with him for a number of years are properly addressed.”

The current agreement still needs to be ratified by the Afghan national council, called the loya jirgas. As USA Today explained, this council is made up of 3,000 delegates representing the wide variety of ethnic and tribal groups around the country. This group has been responsible for choosing kings, ratifying constitutions and settling national issues in the past. Now, they will decide what the next decade of U.S. military involvement will look like in their country.

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This piece is considered a “standard” article in our print edition.
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