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Afghan Parliament Approves US Partnership

Some members of the Afghan parliament are pictured during a session in Kabul (file photo).
Afghanistan's parliament ratified a strategic partnership agreement between Kabul and Washington, Saturday.

The deal was approved in the Walasi Jirga (lower house of parliament) with more than 150 lawmakers turning out for the vote. Only a handful of lawmakers voted against the measure.

The pact covers security, economics and governance, and spells out the U.S. relationship with Afghanistan beyond 2014 when most NATO forces are planning to conclude their combat role. It does not commit the U.S. to any specific troop presence, but pledges U.S. aid for Afghanistan for at least a decade after most foreign combat forces leave.

The agreement also allows the U.S. to keep a reduced number of troops in Afghanistan for the continued training of Afghan forces and targeted operations against al-Qaida.

The U.S. embassy in Kabul welcomed the ratification. Citing President Barack Obama, an embassy spokesperson said "the strategic partnership agreement is a clear message from the United States to the Afghan people that, 'As you stand, you will not stand alone.'"

President Obama and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, signed the agreement earlier this month in Kabul.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.