KABUL, Afghanistan — The United States and Afghanistan on Tuesday signed a long-delayed security agreement that will allow U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond the previous December deadline to withdraw.
The deal was signed by Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham during a ceremony in Kabul.
The future of the U.S. military’s presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014 had been in doubt until the deal was signed. Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai negotiated the deal but then reneged, and it became clear that no deal would be signed until after presidential elections this year.
In February, the Obama administration announced for the first time that it had begun planning for the possible withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2014 if Afghanistan did not sign a security agreement pertaining to rights of U.S. troops operating there.