Secretary of State John Kerry and NATO officials have advised the Afghan government to sign a security deal meant to insure the presence of some U.S. troops in the country beyond 2014, Reuters reported Tuesday.
Adrian Croft, David Brunnstrom, Justyna Pawlak and Tom Koerkemeier write Kerry said Bismullah Khan Mohammadi, Afghanistan’s defense chief, can sign the pact on behalf of President Hamid Karzai, who said he plans to sign the deal after the April elections.
“You know, his minister of defense (Bismullah Khan Mohammadi) can sign it, the government can sign it, somebody can accept responsibility for this,” Kerry said in a press conference at Brussels.
Karzai’s reluctance to sign the deal is delaying plans to deploy a smaller NATO-led training force in Afghanistan after the foreign troop pullout planned for next year, the report said.
NATO officials said Karzai’s hesitation will also affect foreign aid worth about $8 billion per year, Reuters reports.
“My concern is that if we are not able to deploy a training mission to Afghanistan, it may have a negative impact on the security situation in Afghanistan and furthermore it may also have a negative impact on the provision of financial aid to Afghanistan,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen, secretary general of NATO, said to reporters.