Talks with Kabul on night raids continuing, says US
Afghan and US officials on Friday signed a landmark agreement on the transfer of US-run notorious Bagram prison in central Parwan province to the Afghan government’s control, resolving an issue that has earlier derailed the progress on a strategic partnership agreement between the two countries.
The Obama Administration hoped the deal on night raids, a sticking issue to the strategic pact, would pave way for the much-awaited Strategic Partnership Document (SPD).
“One of the issues that we are continuing to talk about is the issue of night operations. It is now looking like that issue will also be addressed in a separate negotiation, that there’ll be a separate memorandum of understanding on special operations,” Victoria Nuland, State Department spokesperson told reporters at her daily news conference.
“We’re having that negotiation as well. And then there are the usual things that need to be cleaned up as you come to a final text on an agreement of the magnitude of the SPD,” Nuland said in response to a question.
“There are details to be worked through about how these operations are going to work in the future. This is also an area where Afghans are increasingly in the lead, so I think it’s a matter of working through what support they might require in the future,” she added.
Nuland said the US was pleased and encouraged that the memorandum of understanding on detentions had been signed. “We think it’s a very important step forward in transitioning security responsibility to the Afghan government and to do it in a way that is phased, that is transparent, that meets international legal standards, and that can give all of us confidence in Afghanistan’s future,” she said.
“We also do think that this step moves us closer to being able to conclude the US-Afghan strategic partnership document, which will guide our relationship going forward, including in the post-2014 period when Afghans are firmly in the lead of their own security. We do have other hurdles to clear and we’re continuing to negotiate, but we are increasingly optimistic that we will be able to move on the SPD as well,” she said.
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