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Afghan Jirga Backs US Deal


Members of the Loya Jirga, or grand assembly, prepare to leave after its closing ceremony in Kabul, November 19, 2011.

Members of the Loya Jirga, or grand assembly, prepare to leave after its closing ceremony in Kabul, November 19, 2011.

Delegates at a traditional national assembly in Afghanistan have endorsed a long-term strategic partnership with the United States that would address Afghanistan's security needs and the presence of U.S. forces in the country after 2014.

The non-binding resolution issued at the end of a four-day Loya Jirga assembly Saturday also suggested conditions for future talks between Afghan and American officials. They include an end to unpopular night raids by coalition forces and assurances that the United States hands over all detainees to Afghan custody.

Delegates also asked President Hamid Karzai to ensure that any agreement with Washington be limited to 10 years and presented the government with suggestions about its efforts to make peace with the Taliban through reconciliation talks.

Peace talks with the Taliban have made no progress, and efforts were brought to a halt following the September 20 assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, Mr. Karzai's leading peace broker.

There are more than 130,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led coalition, mostly from the U.S. All international combat troops are due to leave the country by the end of 2014.

Some analysts say government corruption, coupled with incompetence and mismanagement, plagues the reconstruction efforts and contributes to the country's insecurity.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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