Small troop presence after 2014: White House
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The United States has plans for a small presence of troops in Afghanistan post 2014, the White House said on Thursday, reiterating the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) needed to be signed.
“It is true the combat mission ends and US troops are withdrawing. We believe, and have a plan for, a small presence of US troops beyond 2014. But that is dependent upon the Afghan government signing the BSA,” the White House press secretary said.
Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference the deal had to be concluded so that they could move forward with planning. Absent the pact, they could not plan a troop presence beyond 2014, he argued.
“Most importantly, and what we've been focused on obviously has been assisting the buildup of and professionalism of Afghan security forces and assisting the Afghan government in helping give it the space so that it can be stronger as this transition occurs,” he added.
Carney said the US was in contact with President Hamid Karzai. “We as a government and an administration, our embassy in Kabul, others, the State Department and elsewhere with Afghan government on a regular basis on a variety of issues, because we work collaboratively on so much in Afghanistan, and specifically on the need for the BSA to be signed promptly…”
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said it was not only desired by the US for the Afghans to sign the BSA, but it was in the interests of the Afghan people to do that.
“So time will tell whether there is an impact, but obviously, this is a report that we have concerns about. At the same time, we continue to work toward and make our case for why it’s important to sign the BSA as quickly as possible,” she said.
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