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Sunday, April 22, 2012

U.S. and Karzai work out strategic agreement for U.S. presence after 2014



The U.S. and Karzai have worked out what they call a strategic partnership for U.S. presence after 2014 when most combat troops will be removed. The two sides have been negotiating behind the scenes for almost a year now. There is to be one final consultation but for now they say the text of the agreement is closed.

The document leaves unresolved issues that plagued negotiations from the beginning. However the issue of night raids was resolved by having Afghans lead the raids and they will also be subject to judicial review. Some think that this is mostly symbolic a room is left for other raids that are by the U.S. and also the judicial permission can be after the fact! There was also a separate agreement on the handover of jails to Afghan authorities. A compromise was reached.



The article says that the agreement will go to both houses of congress in the U.S. and the president. In Afghanistan the wording is that Karzai will consult with national leaders and both houses of parliament. It is not clear by the wording that the Afghan parliament will vote on the agreement.

. The issue of long term access to military and the status of the forces that stay is unresolved. The U.S. refuses to allow its military to be subject to Afghan law.

A conference in Chicago in May is expected to iron out details of long term financing for the Afghan military and training. The World Bank predicts Afghanistan will face a 7 billion dollar deficit each year after 2014.

The international community has pledged about 4 billion annually to prop up the army and police. Most will come from the U.S. The Afghans will commit about a half billion annually. Karzai had demanded a firm commitment in the agreement to a specific amount of funding but he did not get it. For more see this article. For long after 2014 the U.S taxpayer will be paying for the Afghan adventure. No doubt special forces and troops as trainers will also stay. Expect a huge embassy staff as well. The Taliban are not likely to agree to peace terms as long as there is still a NATO or U.S. presence of this size.

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