The Governments of Afghanistan and the U.S. officially launched their negotiations on a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) that will determine how many American military personnel stay in Afghanistan after 2014, according to the U.S. Department of State.
“This document is intended to provide the legal authority for United States armed forces and our civilian component to continue a presence in Afghanistan with the full approval of the government of Afghanistan. The document will also represent our commitment to an abiding security relationship, an enduring security partnership that we believe serves the interests of both our countries,” Ambassador James Warlick, U.S. Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan who is leading the United States negotiating team, told reporters in Kabul Thursday, reported Silk Road Newsline.
“We look forward to the coming weeks ahead for continued discussion, and upon conclusion of this agreement the people of Afghanistan can be assured that we have an enduring relationship,” he said.
According to the U.S. Department of State, “Both sides clarified that these negotiations are premised on the understanding that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan, or a presence that is perceived as a threat to Afghanistan’s neighbors.”
The Afghan negotiating team is led by Eklil Hakimi, Ambassador of Afghanistan to the U.S.
The BSA negotiations are in accordance with the Afghanistan-US Strategic Partnership Agreement signed between President Karzai and President Obama on May 2, 2012 in Kabul and currently in force between the two countries.
“Both sides affirmed that the key guiding principles in these important negotiations are full respect for Afghan sovereignty and Afghan national interests,” the U.S. Department of State said.