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Either nation can quit what Pres. Obama termed an "historic agreement" with one year's written notice. If both parties want to cancel it they can do so by mutual agreement at any time.
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Obama's Afghanistan Security Deal
Contains No Tangible Points

AP/The Boston Globe
The 10-year security compact that President Barack Obama signed with Afghan President Hamid Karzai contains promises the United States and Afghanistan cannot guarantee they will keep, and loopholes for both nations.

The deal signed Tuesday also allows either nation to walk away on a year's notice. That could allow the next US president, or the next Afghan leader, to scuttle a deal negotiated by his or her predecessor. US officials said the deal is legally binding, but it does not carry the force of a treaty as Afghanistan originally wanted.

Obama called the agreement historic, and said it "defines a new kind of relationship between our countries -- a future in which Afghans are responsible for the security of their nation, and we build an equal partnership between two sovereign states."

The deal pledges Afghanistan to fight corruption, improve efficiency and protect human rights, including women's rights. All are areas where the United States already finds fault with Afghan performance, and Afghanistan has promised improvement on corruption many times before. The nine-page agreement spells out no consequences if those or other goals are not met.

The agreement uses even looser language to address the production and trafficking of illegal drugs in Afghanistan, a major opium producer. Both nations affirm that illicit drugs undermine security and legitimate economic growth but promise only to cooperate to confront the threat.

The United States promises to seek annual funding to train and equip the Afghan armed forces but gives no dollar figure. That money must be approved by Congress, which has so far supported the Obama administration's plan to build up the Afghan forces. There is growing concern in Congress, however, about the quality of those forces, and the billions of dollars they would need over 10 years is not assured.

The agreement promises ongoing US investment in a variety of development, health, education and support projects aimed at helping the poor nation one day support itself, and it commits the United States to seek annual funding from Congress "commensurate with the strategic importance of the US-Afghan partnership."

US officials said they cannot make a more specific pledge because Congress controls the purse strings.

The agreement, which takes effect when US and other foreign combat forces leave in 2014, also is not the last word on whether the United States leaves a much smaller contingent of troops in Afghanistan after that date.

Both of the current leaders want such a residual force. But if Iraq is a guide, the rationale for a continued US military presence on the soil of a Muslim nation could change, or new leadership in Washington or Kabul could decide on a different path.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby said the "strategic partnership agreement" is not intended to address the specific terms of an ongoing military relationship. The agreement pledges the two nations to begin work on a more detailed pact, and sets a goal of one year to complete it.

Either nation can quit the agreement with one year's written notice. If both parties want to cancel it they can do so by mutual agreement at any time.


Editor's Note: So, Mr. Obama flies to Afghanistan to sign a "critically important agreement," only to return with a piece of paper that includes absolutely no tangibles but a boat load of photos to use in campaign ads touting his foreign policy "achievements." Tell me again why he spent all that taxpayer money to fly to Afghanistan to do this? And explain to me, once again, how this wasn't directly connected to his campaign for re-election?...

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