Obstacles to strategic pact removed: US, NATO
Hoping the strategic deal would be inked before the Chicago summit in May, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters in Kabul that leading the raids and taking control of all prisons were major Afghan demands.
Asked about a specific date for signing the strategic agreement, Kirby replied: "I can't give you an exact timeframe, but the pact would be possibly signed before the Chicago summit."
The meeting would focus on strengthening and funding Afghan security forces, he said, adding the 50-nation force would play a supportive role after 2014. However, Jacobson explained that ISAF, if asked, would also conduct operations.
He said the Afghan soldiers’ strength would increase to 352,000 by the end of the ongoing year. He estimated the Afghan forces needed $7 billion (348.2 billion afghanis) annually and 80 percent of the funds were paid by the US.
After security transition, Afghan forces’ expenses would start declining and would eventually come down to about $280,000 a year, he said.
Answering a query about the strategic pact, the Pentagon spokesman said the US was not interested in having permanent military bases in Afghanistan.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.