News / Asia

NATO Urges Karzai to Sign Troop Agreement

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) attends a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels December 3, 2013.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) attends a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels December 3, 2013.
NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels are urging Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a security pact with the United States that would allow foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond the end of the NATO combat mission there next year.  President Karzai wants to delay that signing until after Afghan elections.  

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance is hoping to stay in Afghanistan into 2015 but needs President Karzai's "timely" signature on a security pact outlining the terms of a smaller advisory force.

Rasmussen told reporters at NATO headquarters he is concerned that without such a training mission, there could be a negative impact on security and financial aid to Afghanistan.  He says the trans-Atlantic alliance is not trying to impose anything on the government in Kabul, just offering help if it is wanted.

"NATO is not an occupation force.  We intend to help Afghanistan.  And of course it is a precondition that we get an invitation.  And an invitation should be accompanied by a proper legal framework," said Rasmussen.



President Karzai is holding up the legal framework that would govern the presence of U.S. troops beyond 2014, saying such an accord should not be signed until after his country's elections next April.  Karzai has also added conditions to a deal he negotiated with Secretary Kerry: he is now calling for the release of all Afghan prisoners from U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Kerry says that, given what he calls "the amount of sacrifice" made by U.S. troops in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama does not appreciate "that this somehow is being left in doubt at this critical moment."

"This is not fooling around.  This is serious business.  There are over 50 nations who are engaged here through NATO in trying to help Afghanistan.  And those nations have budget cycles.  Those nations have planning requirements," said Kerry.

U.S. and NATO officials say they need a decision by the end of the year to plan for either the complete withdrawal of all 84,000 troops over the next 12 months or the establishment of a smaller training force of between 8,000 and 12,000 soldiers.

"All of our colleagues here today voiced a desire for their planning purposes and for the confidence that comes with the knowledge that we are moving in the same direction, that they all voiced hope that this can be done sooner, not later," said Kerry.

NATO foreign ministers and officials from partner countries meet Wednesday with the acting Afghan foreign minister, Zarar Ahmad Moqbel, and with Afghan Interior Minister Mohammad Omar Daudzai to discuss the pending security pact.

Kerry then leaves Belgium for meetings in Moldova before continuing on to Israel.

You May Like

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
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.

VOA Blogs

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