Hagel Given Assurances on Afghan Security Deal

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel says Afghan's defense minister has reassured him that a security agreement with the U.S. will be signed in a timely manner.

Hagel met with Bismillah Khan Mohammadi during a visit Saturday to Kabul, the Afghan capital.

Hagel also tells reporters that he doesn't think that more U.S. pressure would be helpful in trying to persuade Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign the agreement.

Karzai has tentatively endorsed the agreement and a council of tribal elders has said it should be signed by the end of the year, as the U.S. has demanded.

Karzai says he wants his successor to decide after Afghanistan's April elections.

The deal would allow U.S. troops to stay in the country after 2014 to do training and some counterterrorism missions.

Without a signed agreement, all U.S. troops would leave at the end of next year, along with all foreign forces.

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