Accord no threat to Afghanistan’s neighbours
KABUL (PAN): The United States will not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan, an issue of grave concern to regional countries, under the strategic deal that Presidents Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai signed late on Tuesday night.
Respecting Afghanistan’s national sovereignty, the long-awaited agreement was inked in accordance with the recommendations of last year’s traditional Loya Jirga and the United Nations Charter.
Memorandums of understanding on Afghanising the nettlesome nighttime raids and handing over prisons’ control to local security personnel were signed last month, removing key hurdles to the accord.
The agreement says: “In order to strengthen security and stability in Afghanistan, contribute to regional and international peace, combat Al Qaeda and its affiliates and enhance the ability of Afghanistan to deter threats against its sovereignty…the parties shall continue to foster close cooperation concerning defence and security arrangements...”
The agreement may be amended or terminated with mutual consent at any time, and either party may provide a written notice to the other of its intent to terminate the deal, which shall be effective one year after the date of such a notification.
Subject to their internal procedure, the parties shall initiate negotiations on an enduring partnership that strengthens Afghan sovereignty, stability and prosperity, and that contributes to the shared goal of defeating Al Qaeda and its extremist affiliates.
Fine-tuned over an 18-month period, the pact commits the US and Afghanistan to negotiations on a “Bilateral Security Agreement” to supersede the current Status of Forces Agreement.
The United States reaffirmed it did not seek permanent military facilities in Afghanistan, or a presence that was a threat to Afghanistan’s neighbours. The US also pledged not to use Afghan territory or facilities as a launching point for attacks against other countries.
It says Afghanistan’s security will contribute to the stability of South-Central Assia and the US affirmed that it shall regard with the concern any external aggression against Afghanistan. “Were this to occur, the parties shall hold consultations on an urgent basis to develop and implement an appropriate response…”
A Working Group on Defense and Security, established under the framework of the agreement shall undertake regular assessments of the level of threat facing Afghanistan, as well as the country's security and defence requirements, and make specific recommendations about future cooperation in this field to the bilateral commission.
The agreement shall enter into force when the parties notify one another through diplomatic channels of the completion of their respective necessary internal legal requirements. It shall remain in force until the end of 2024.
Upon mutual written agreement of the parties, six months prior to the expiration of the agreement, it may be renewed for a mutually agreed period. The agreement would be referred to parliament for approval.
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