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Officials: Talks on US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Stalled

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai (R), head of the Transition Commission, inspects an Afghan military guard during a ceremony to hand over security control in Qala Naw, center of Badghis province, File January 31, 2012.
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai (R), head of the Transition Commission, inspects an Afghan military guard during a ceremony to hand over security control in Qala Naw, center of Badghis province, File January 31, 2012.

Officials say efforts to forge an agreement outlining the U.S. role in Afghanistan after American troops leave the country are faltering.

International combat troops are set to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and are in the process of transferring security control to Afghan forces.

Afghan Foreign Ministry officials said Monday that discussions on a long-term U.S.- Afghan strategic agreement have stalled due to disputes over the transfer of American-run detention centers and night raids conducted by international forces.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called for an end to such raids, which he says result in civilian deaths.  But U.S. military officials say the operations are crucial to capturing insurgents.

The Afghan government also wants to take control of U.S. military detention centers, including the facility at Bagram Air Base.  But Afghan Foreign Ministry officials say the United States has questioned whether the Afghan government is capable of running the prison to meet international standards.

U.S. Embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall suggested Monday that a U.S.-Afghanistan pact may not be possible, saying "we have always said it is more important to get the right agreement than to get an agreement."

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