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U.S. And Afghanistan Reach Partial Security Deal


This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

The U.S. and Afghanistan have an agreement in principle on a long-term security pact that will keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the NATO mission ends next year. Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai just spent the better part of a day and a half in negotiations over the deal, which just a few days ago looked like a long shot. NPR's Sean Carberry reports.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: On the right side.

SEAN CARBERRY, BYLINE: Ten hours after the press conference was originally scheduled and long after the sun had gone down in Kabul, President Karzai and Secretary Kerry stepped into the floodlights in the presidential palace courtyard.

PRESIDENT HAMID KARZAI: (Foreign language spoken)

CARBERRY: Karzai criticized U.S. forces for civilian casualties in violating Afghan's sovereignty over the years but acknowledged that he and Kerry reached agreement on language regarding Afghan sovereignty and security guarantees. Karzai said he will send the deal for review by his national security council, a people's assembly or Loya Jirga and parliament. Kerry said that this is a deal in the interest of both countries, but it's not done yet. The agreement is silent on whether or not U.S. troops in Afghanistan will be subject to Afghan or U.S. law.

SECRETARY JOHN KERRY: We need to say that if the issue of jurisdiction cannot be resolved, then unfortunately there cannot be a bilateral security agreement.

CARBERRY: Karzai and Kerry said the Loya Jirga will have to rule on that point, which will likely take place in November. One other detail that has not been released is how many troops the U.S. intends to keep in Afghanistan after 2014. Sean Carberry, NPR News, Kabul. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.