KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ After more than 18 months of work,
Afghan and U.S. officials have finalized a strategic partnership
deal that is meant to set forth guidelines for U.S. involvement in
Afghanistan as forces draw down.
Afghan and U.S. officials had said that they expected to sign
the deal before a NATO summit in May, but a series of disagreements
had threatened to derail the partnership in recent months. Some of
the most contentious issues were removed from the broader pact and
addressed in separate memorandums of understanding.
Afghanistan's national security adviser (Rangin Dadfar Spanta)
says the agreement provides a strong foundation for the security
and development of Afghanistan and the region He and U.S.
Ambassador Ryan Crocker initialed the document at a ceremony in the Afghan capital.
The next step is for President Hamid Karzai and President Barack Obama to sign the agreement.