(KABUL, Afghanistan) — A top U.S. lawmaker is giving his support to keeping a residual U.S. force in Afghanistan after the planned withdrawal of most coalition forces by the end of 2014.
Meeting with U.S. and Afghan officials in Kabul, House Speaker John Boehner remarked that American troops “fought to bring peace and security to Afghanistan and to ensure it can never again be used as a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States.”
The Obama administration has been at loggerheads with Afghan President Hamid Karzai over signing a Bilateral Security Agreement that would leave an unspecified number of U.S. soldiers in the country in a training and advisory role past 2014.
Karzai, who wants various concessions from Washington, says he will leave it up to his successor to determine whether a post-war pact is right for Afghanistan.
A week-and-a-half ago, millions of Afghans went to the polls to select a new leader but the outcome may not be known for some time. Even then, a run-off is predicted between the two top candidates, which could further delay the signing of the BSA.
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Michael Pearson and Steve Almasy, CNN
Roshni Majumdar, CNN
Billy Hallowell, Deseret News
Holly Yan, David Williams and Steve Almasy, CNN