Podesta: U.S. to sign Afghan troop deal

WASHINGTON: A US daily reported that with change in Kabul President Obama is keen to strike an early troop deal which will allow 10,000 US troops to stay in Afghanistan after withdrawal.
The U.S. had been unable to get former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai to sign such an agreement, but the new Afghan government will do so, said White House senior adviser John Podesta.
Podesta made the announcement after attending the inauguration of new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.
Under the bilateral security agreement to be signed Tuesday, the U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan will provide general security and help train Afghan security forces.
U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan are set to end Dec. 31.
Ahmadzai took office after a disputed election to succeed Karzai.
The two sides settled on a power sharing agreement in which Ahmadzai becomes president, and his opponent — Abdullah Abdullah — takes the newly created post of chief executive.
During the campaign, both candidates pledged to see a post-combat agreement with the United States.

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