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

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora