KABUL: President Hamid Karzai and his US counterpart Barack Obama agreed to launch the US-Afghan Bilateral Commission and start negotiations on a bilateral security agreement.
The agreement between the two leaders was reached during a video conference call, with Obama reiterating his strong support for Afghan sovereignty, the White House said.
Karzai and Obama agreed to take additional concrete steps to implement the Strategic Partnership Agreement, including launching the US-Afghan Bilateral Commission in coming weeks and beginning negotiations on a Bilateral Security Agreement.
Under the Strategic Partnership Agreement between Afghanistan and the United States, which was signed in May, a separate bilateral security agreement is to be reached within one year to determine the legal status of US forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
The White House said Obama expressed his condolences on the first assassination anniversary of former President and High Peace Council Chairman Burhanuddin Rabbani.
“The two leaders agreed to continue our work together in support of an Afghan-led reconciliation process,” a statement from the White House said.
In addition, Obama and Karzai discussed efforts to stem insider attacks on US-led coalition forces; the importance of continuing to encourage restraint and non-violence in reaction to inflammatory materials; and continued implementation of the US-Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement, the White House said.
Earlier on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Obama didn’t expect any change in the timetable for US-led coalition forces to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
“The process of partnering with and training Afghan security forces continues, and the process of transitioning to Afghan security lead continues,” he said.
“The President has made clear that the drawdown of US forces will continue,” Carney said. “The pace of that will depend on evaluations and assessments by commanders on the ground. But it will continue, and he remains committed to ending the war in Afghanistan in keeping with the NATO objectives by 2014.