United States and NATO leadership hailed the signing of a bilateral security agreement (BSA) between the government of Afghanistan and the United States, along with a status of forces agreement with NATO.
New Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who was sworn in Sept. 29, signed the agreements Sept. 30. Ghani shares power in the new Afghan Government of National Unity with Abdullah Abdullah, the nation’s chief executive. The signing of the agreements enables U.S. and NATO forces to remain in Afghanistan past the end of 2014, and mark “an historic day in the U.S.-Afghan partnership that will help advance our shared interests and the long-term security of Afghanistan,” President Barack Obama said in a White House release.
The NATO status of forces agreement gives forces from allied and partner countries legal protections necessary to carry out the new NATO Resolute Support mission to train and advise Afghan forces after the ISAF mission ends later this year.
“This agreement represents an invitation from the Afghan government to strengthen the relationship we have built over the past 13 years and provides our military service members the necessary legal framework to carry out two critical missions after 2014: targeting the remnants of Al Qaeda and training, advising, and assisting Afghan National Security Forces,” Obama continued.
“The signing of the BSA also reflects the implementation of the strategic partnership agreement our two governments signed in May 2012,” he said.
The NATO Status of Forces agreement gives forces from allied and partner countries legal protections necessary to carry out the new NATO Resolute Support mission to train and advise Afghan forces after the ISAF mission ends later this year.
“I welcome the signature of the bilateral security agreement between the United States and Afghanistan and of the status of forces agreement between NATO and Afghanistan,” outgoing NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement. “The conclusion of these agreements opens a new chapter for cooperation between NATO, our partners, and the Afghan National Security Forces.
“I warmly congratulate President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah as they assume their duties. They enter office at a pivotal moment for Afghanistan. We will continue to stand with them and with the Afghan people for a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan,” Rasmussen’s statement concluded.
“As the ISAF mission is completed at the end of this year, the NATO status of forces agreement provides the legal basis for our new mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces. The signing of today’s agreements means that this new NATO-led mission, called Resolute Support, can start on 1 January 2015, as planned.