New Afghan Leadership Poised to Sign Security Agreements

The new Afghan administration, which assumed power on Monday, is expected on Tuesday to sign a bilateral security agreement with the United States and a status of forces agreement with NATO, according to press reports. Those documents will provide the legal framework for the launch of Resolute Support, NATO’s post-combat train, advise, and assist mission in Afghanistan in 2015. Ashraf Ghani became Afghanistan’s president on Sept. 29, replacing Hamid Karzai, in a peaceful transition of presidential power. Abdullah Abdullah became chief executive officer of Afghanistan’s national unity government. Karzai had refused to sign the agreements. Resolute Support will involve some 12,000 troops from alliance members and partner nations. The Obama Administration has said it anticipates having about 9,800 American troops in Afghanistan in 2015, most of them involved with Resolute Support. By the end of 2015, the White House expects to cut that number roughly in half. By the end of 2016, the US military presence would go down more and shift to a security assistance mission based at the US embassy in Kabul.