Afghanistan signed Bilateral Security Agreement with the US

Sep 30, 2014 17:50 IST

Afghanistan on 30 September 2014 signed Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US with an aim to allow some US troops to remain in the country till 2015.

National Security Adviser of Afghanistan Mohammad Hanif Atmar and US Ambassador James Cunningham signed BSA at the presidential palace of Afghanistan in Kabul.

Signing of the BSA was the first act of the new government in Afghanistan headed by President Ashraf Ghani who was sworn-in on 29 September 2014.

Main highlights of Bilateral Security Arrangement (BSA)

• 12000 foreign military personnel to stay after December 2014 when the combat mission of Afghanistan's US-led NATO force ends.
• Out of this 10000 US soldiers will remain in Afghanistan when the combat mission of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) will end in December 2014.
• The troops will continue training, advising and equipping Afghan soldiers and police, and to carry out counter-terrorism operations.
• It allows the US to hold a civil or criminal trial or take other disciplinary action, as appropriate, in the territory of Afghanistan in the case that a US soldier is accused of a crime.
• It does not require US forces to intervene if Afghanistan comes under foreign attack.
• Foreign troops would not be able to enter holy sites or civilian homes, a longstanding demand of former President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai.
• The US has the right to keep bases in Afghanistan as long as the security pact is in force, and in return it promises to raise funds to train and equip the Afghan security forces, which now number 350000.

Besides, Atmar also signed a status of forces agreement with NATO, providing similar legal protections for the alliance’s personnel in Afghanistan.

With this NATO announced a new mission named Resolute Support.

The new mission will focus on training and support for the Afghan army and police as they take on Taliban fighters. So terrorists can never use Afghanistan to launch attacks against the U.S. or its allies.

Background

Talks on the security agreement began in November 2012 with a stated goal of reaching an agreement by May 2013. However, the ex-President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai had refused to sign the deal in a disagreement that came to symbolise the breakdown of Afghan-US relations.

During the campaign trail, both Ghani and his poll rival Abdullah Abdullah had vowed to reverse Karzai's decision. The signing of the deal by newly elected President Ashraf Ghani is intended to repair the ties with Washington.

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