US: Afghan Security Deal May Be Signed Next Week

The Obama administration expects that incoming Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will sign a bilateral security deal as early as next week.

A senior State Department official told reporters Wednesday that the agreement will be signed by Ghani or his designee “within days” of his inauguration next Monday.

The deal allows U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond this year, as part of a NATO-led training and advisory mission.

Outgoing President Hamid Karzai negotiated with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry last year, but refused to sign it.  Ghani and his unity government partner, Abdullah Abdullah, have both pledged to sign the pact.

They also have vowed to sign a status of forces agreement with NATO governing the deployment of residual international forces.

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