Updated 3:55 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) – The United States and Afghanistan have signed a deal Tuesday to formally justify the presence of a limited US military contingent in the Central Asian state after the formal withdrawal of international forces, the TOLO News channel reported.
The deal was signed in Kabul's presidential palace earlier in the day, the Afghan television channel said.
Washington acknowledged earlier that its relationship with Kabul under President Hamid Karzai was "punctuated by disagreements," one of them being his reluctance to let the United States keep a residual force on the ground in Afghanistan after its 2014 pullout.
The future of US military presence in Afghanistan brightened up following the election of Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, a more willing partner of the United States, as the nation's new president.
Speaking on Ahmadzai's inauguration Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the freshly appointed president, as well as the new chief executive officer, Abdullah Abdullah, saying he hoped for a deeper partnership with a "unified and democratic Afghanistan."
The security agreement is expected to determine the number of US soldiers that will remain in Afghanistan after 2014. According to Kerry, foreign troops will help to conduct "counter-terror operations" and train Afghan soldiers.
About 41,000 NATO troops remain in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban insurgency alongside Afghan soldiers and police. NATO's combat mission will end in December, with a follow-on force of about 12,000 troops likely to stay into 2015 on training and support duties.