News / Asia

Hagel Urges Afghanistan to Approve Security Deal

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (R) is seen at a NATO defense ministers meeting at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels October 22, 2013.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (R) is seen at a NATO defense ministers meeting at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels October 22, 2013.
Luis Ramirez
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is urging Afghan leaders to sign a bilateral security agreement, saying it is key to ensuring peace in the country after most international troops depart at the end of next year.

Hagel met with Afghan Defense Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi on the sidelines of a NATO defense ministers’ gathering to discuss Afghanistan's prospects after the NATO mission ends there in 2014.
 
Hagel and other top U.S. defense officials say they are hopeful and confident Afghan leaders will conclude an agreement recently announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
 
On his flight Monday to Brussels, Hagel said he believes the Afghans also understand the need to quickly, but carefully, approve an agreement that will set the rules governing the presence of foreign troops remaining in the country after 2014.
 
“I think they are handling this with responsible analysis and we are on track.  We are not behind schedule on this.  But it has to be done this way because so many people and countries are involved but in particular the Afghan people have got to sign off.  They have got to be comfortable.  They have got to be the ones inviting us to stay as a partner,”  said Hagel.
 
The preliminary agreement is now subject to approval by Afghan tribal leaders and the Afghan parliament.
 
A sensitive process
 
Officials at the NATO meeting have been careful not to discuss any details of where the two sides remain far apart.  They say they are concerned any leaks could harm what they call a very sensitive process.
 
A major potential sticking point is the firm U.S. demand to retain legal jurisdiction over its soldiers that remain in the country after 2014, effectively making them immune from being prosecuted under Afghan law. 
 
Hagel told the Afghan defense minister there is still work to be done to address Afghanistan's security challenges, but it remains critical for Afghanistan to sign the agreement.
 
A senior military U.S. official on Tuesday told reporters he is confident the Afghan people will approve the deal, which he said is vital to ensuring the delivery of billions of dollars of international aid that has been pledged to help Afghanistan's development after the NATO withdrawal.
 
NATO troops have been transferring combat duties to Afghan forces, which took the lead against insurgents in the fighting season that has just ended. 
 
The U.S. expressed concerns about the high number of casualties that Afghan forces were suffering at the start of the season, which averaged about 100 per week. 
 
That number dropped by about half at the end of the season, following what a U.S. military official said were heightened efforts to train Afghan forces on how to treat soldiers who are wounded in battle.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
October 23, 2013 2:43 AM
shafiq azad from afghanistan,except some redical islamists the other all afghan people are happy with this agreement america stay here to destroy the homes of terrorists otherwise they will destroy you

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More