KABUL, Afghanistan: The United States and Afghanistan formally signed the long-awaited bilateral security agreement in Kabul on Tuesday, allowing thousands of US troops to stay in the war-torn country after 2014.
The security deal was signed by the US ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham and the national security adviser Hanif Atmar.
The status of forces agreement (SOFA) for the NATO forces was also inked during the signing ceremony held at the presidential palace in Kabul.
“As an independent country, based on our national interests, we signed this agreement for stability, goodwill, and prosperity of our people, stability of the region and the world,” the newly-selected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai said in a speech after the signing.
Under the agreement, 12,000 foreign military personnel are expected to stay in Afghanistan after 2014 when the combat mission of US-led NATO force ends in the country. The force is expected to be made up of 9,800 US troops with the rest from other NATO members. They will train and assist Afghan security forces in the war against the Taliban and its radical Islamist allies.