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Kabul, U.S. Complete Draft Strategic Partnership Accord


Afghan President Hamid Karzai
KABUL -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office says a draft agreement on a long-term U.S.-Afghan partnership was finalized and initialed in Kabul on April 22 by delegates from the two countries.

The two delegates were U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker and Afghan National Security Adviser Rangin Spanta.

Lawmakers from both countries must approve the agreement before it is signed by both presidents.

It spells out the framework for future U.S. aid and governance advice but does not specify whether a reduced number of U.S. troops and advisers will remain in Afghanistan after NATO's planned 2014 withdrawal. That issue is to be covered in a separate status of forces agreement.

Negotiations were delayed for months until Washington agreed to Karzai's demands for control of prisons and night raids on Afghan homes.

Afghanistan's foreign minister plans to brief Afghan lawmakers about the draft on April 23.

Crocker said the agreement will help the United States do its utmost to assist Afghans and the further development of Afghanistan as “a unified, democratic, stable, and secure state" after the planned withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

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