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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs