Anders Fogh Rasmussen Afghan-US security dealThe North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Saturday opened talks with the government of Afghanistan over a proposed military presence in the country beyond 2014.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, “As mutually agreed by NATO and the Government of Afghanistan, we have decided to open negotiations on the NATO Status of Forces Agreement.|

Rasmussen further added, “I welcome the start of these talks today, at a meeting of NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative Ambassador Maurits Jochems with the Afghan National Security Adviser Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta, while stressing that the NATO Status of Forces Agreement will not be concluded or signed until the signature of the Bilateral Security Agreement between the Governments of Afghanistan and the United States.”

He said, “The Status of Forces Agreement will constitute a key element of the legal framework needed for the deployment of the NATO-led Resolute Support mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces after 2014, as agreed with the Afghan government at the 2012 NATO Summit in Chicago.”

In the meantime, Rasmussen insisted that no deal would be singed until after the bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington was completed.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai set new conditions for the signing of the bilateral security agreement with Washington, though the draft of the pact was approved by majority during the consultative Loya Jirga in Kabul last month.

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    Ahmad Shah Ghani Zada is the former Senior Editor of Khaama Press Agency who managed and overlooked the English edition. He is occasionally contributing stories to the agency.