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Pact with Afghanistan provides U.S. access beyond 2014: White House

(Xinhua)

08:06, May 02, 2012

WASHINGTON, May 1 (Xinhua) -- The White House on Tuesday said the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed by President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai earlier in the day in Kabul provides the possibility of U.S. forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

According to a fact sheet provided by the White House, the Strategic Partnership Agreement "provides for the possibility of U. S. forces in Afghanistan after 2014, for the purposes of training Afghan Forces and targeting the remnants of al-Qaeda."

To that end, the United States and Afghanistan will begin negotiations on a Bilateral Security Agreement to supersede the current Status of Forces Agreement. The United States will also designate Afghanistan a "Major Non-NATO Ally" to provide a long- term framework for security and defense cooperation.

The White House said the U.S. side "do not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan," but the agreement "commits Afghanistan to provide U.S. personnel access to and use of Afghan facilities through 2014 and beyond."

Obama paid an unannounced visit to Kabul on Tuesday to coincides with the first anniversary of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and inked with Karzai the Strategic Partnership Agreement. Foreign forces were originally scheduled to be pulled out of Afghanistan by end of 2014.

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