BSA vital to US presence in Afghanistan: Dempsey
KABUL (Pajhwok): Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, highlighted the importance of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Afghanistan as he oversaw the change of command ceremony in Kabul on Tuesday.
US Gen. John Campbell assumed command of the NATO-led International Assistance Security Force (ISAF) from Gen. Joseph F. Dunford. The incoming commander hinted at no major shift in policy, calling the transition a change in personnel.
Speaking to a group of journalists, Gen. Dempsey said it would be impossible to keep the 9,800 US soldiers stationed in Afghanistan after 2014 in the absence of the treat that both presidential runners have promised to sign.
“I believe both presidential candidates understand the consequences of not signing this agreement, I hope, as has been pledged, the new president would sign the BSA,” the of Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman said.
In response to a question regarding an increase in the number of Afghan security forces to 350, 000, he said that it would depend on different factors. However, he added, they planned to raise the number to the maximum possible.
He praised the Afghan forces for their role in taking lead for security operation. He hoped the future government of national unity would strive hard to ensure peace and stability in the country.
Gen. Dempsey said the situation in Afghanistan would be discussed thoroughly at the upcoming NATO summit in Wales next month.
About possible security threats arising from Pakistan Army’s offensive in North Waziristan, he said he did not want to fault the offensive. He is waiting for final outcome of the operation. He stressed the need for better relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
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