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NATO Expects Afghan Security Agreement To Be Signed In 'The Next Days'


NATO General-Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he expects that security agreements with the United States and NATO will be signed by Afghanistan's new leadership "in the next few days, after the inauguration of the president-elect.”

Rasmussen told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that both Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah -- who are expected to take office next week as president and chief executive respectively -- have pledged to sign the agreements in their joint message to the NATO summit in Wales on September 4.

Rasmussen also said the NATO-led noncombat Resolute Support Mission to train, advise, and assist Afghan security forces will start on January 1, 2015.

Earlier this week, a senior State Department official was quoted as saying Washington expected Afghan leaders to sign "within days" the bilateral security pact that would allow some 10,000 American forces to remain in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 troops withdrawal.

Outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai refused to sign the agreement.

Ghani and Abdullah had also vowed to sign a status-of-forces agreement with NATO governing the deployment of the remaining international forces.

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