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Presenting Afghanistan

The long awaited Afghan-US bilateral security agreement which will spell out the presence and number of American troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 has almost reached to final stages. Authorities in the US have exuded confidence that they will be able to conclude the Bilateral Security Agreement with Afghanistan soon after the resumption of negotiations. Secretary of State of the United States John Kerry during his visit to Pakistan this Thursday said that he was confident Kabul and Washington will reach to an agreement to sign the bilateral security agreement. Kerry said, “We are feeling relaxed regarding the current situation, and I expect that the agreement will be finalized in an appropriate moment.” The talks were suspended over the agreement by the Afghan government following the opening of the Talban Office in Qatar, which according to Karzai was a step to set up a government in exile. With this the peace talks got suspended indefinitely and the bilateral security dialogue held hostage by the talks, much frustration and suspension was observed regarding the future of the country. The presence and quantity of U.S. troops is depended and directly linked to the bilateral security agreement between the two countries, which will pave the way for residual troops in the country thereby to train Afghan security forces and carry out counter-insurgency operations against militants. Signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) is in the mutual interest and need of both Afghanistan and the United States. For Afghans it will be a disaster and devastating when in the present conditions where they are faced with plethora of problems from all sides especially security, economic sector they are failed in signing agreement with a major power like the United States which is helping and involved significantly in the reconstruction and rebuilding of the country. For the United States, in case of failure to reach an agreement, its international credibility will be undoubtedly damaged; and also it won’t like to give up a country which is very important for its strategic, political and economic interests. From the statements of US authorities it seems that the Afghan side have now agreed to allow the U.S. to “maintain legal jurisdiction over its troops in Afghanistan” which was a controversial point between the two countries. Afghanistan hopes that the signing of the bilateral security agreement will help in strengthening the country’s military, political and economic institutions. In addition to that the main concern of Afghans is external aggression and support of insurgents from neighbor countries, which needs to be addressed in the agreement. Interference from neighbor countries especially Pakistan and ill-equipment of the Afghan security forces are the major concerns of Afghanistan which was stressed much in the negotiations of the BSA. Also the Afghans have asked for assurances of financial support included in the agreement as evident from the statement by the Afghan authorities. Peace and security is the wish and desire of every Afghan which they demand to be incorporated in the Bilateral Security Agreement. Indeed the current transition process of security responsibilities to the Afghan security forces, growing insurgency and internal crisis have concerned much Afghan people and think that without the long term cooperation of NATO and the US, getting rid of the present crisis and challenges will be impossible. Afghan government considers the bilateral security agreement significant step in the history of Afghanistan which they expect to reflect with the core and vital interests of the country. The agreement will need final approval from Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Also the draft agreement is needed to pass through the Afghanistan House of Representatives once both sides reached to an agreement regarding the content. strengthening and equipping Afghan security forces, prevention of neighbors meddling in the internal affairs of the country, economic assistance and the presence of foreign forces in the country are all issues which needs to be addressed in the agreement. In a nutshell, Afghan people would like to know that how their government and its possible long-term strategic partner will continue to address the aforementioned problems including strengthening of the security and economic sector, equipping of the Afghan Security Forces with sophisticated weapons, financial help and how to reach an agreement with Taliban and prevent neighbor countries from meddling in the internal affairs of the country, from which they are suffering from years.

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