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

    US Watching as North Korea Opens Biggest Political Meeting in Decades

    As Workers' Party Congress opens, Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora