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Afghan Parliament Approves U.S., NATO Agreements

Afghanistan's parliament has approved bilateral security agreements with the United States and separately with NATO that allow international troops to remain in Afghanistan past the end of this year.

Parliament speaker Abdul Raouf Ibrahimi announced on November 23 that the majority of deputies voted in favor of the security agreements.

The new Afghan government signed the two agreements on September 30.

The agreements ratified by parliament allow the United States and NATO to keep some 12,000 troops in Afghanistan next year to support local forces.

Former President Hamid Karzai had refused to sign the deals.

The agreements came after administration officials say U.S. President Barack Obama approved new guidelines that would allow U.S. troops to engage Taliban fighters, not only Al-Qaeda terrorists, and also provide for U.S. air support when needed.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa