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Karzai's Security Adviser Says U.S. Troop Numbers Not Final

Rangin Dadfar Spanta
​Afghan President Hamid Karzai's national security adviser says the number of U.S. troops that will remain in Afghanistan after 2016 has not yet been decided.

Rangin Dadfar Spanta told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan on June 19 that U.S. President Barack Obama's recent statement about U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan being reduced to some 1,000 after 2016 are not the final word.

Spanta said there is a provision in the bilateral security agreement (BSA) between the United States and Afghanistan that troop numbers would be decided based on assessments of the security situation in Afghanistan and that the Afghan government would be bound by the agreement to allow more U.S. troops into the country, if necessary, to combat terrorists.

Spanta says he backs the signing of the BSA, which Karzai has refused to sign.

Both of the Afghan presidential candidates have said they will sign the BSA after taking office.

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