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Afghan Upper House Approves U.S. Strategic Pact

U.S. soldiers patrol with Afghan National Army soldiers in the Zharay district, Kandahar Province.
KABUL -- Afghanistan's upper house has approved a strategic partnership agreement between Kabul and Washington, clearing the way for a U.S. presence in the country after the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops in 2014.

Afghan officials said that out of the 80 members of the Council of Elders who voted, only 13 voted against.

The Afghan lower house of parliament ratified the agreement on May 26.

The agreement will now go into effect in Afghanistan.

The document was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on May 2.

Although the pact does not commit the United States to specific troop levels, it does allow Washington to potentially keep a number of troops to train Afghan soldiers and pursue Al-Qaeda militants.