Afghan Parliament approves US, NATO agreements

Afghanistan's Parliament has approved a bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington allowing international troops to remain in the country past the end of this year.

Kabul: Afghanistan's Parliament has approved a bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington allowing international troops to remain in the country past the end of this year.

Parliament also ratified a separate troop agreement with NATO in a special session today.

The international combat mission in Afghanistan, begun after the 2001 US led invasion that toppled the Taliban government, was to conclude at the end of this year. The new agreements ratified by parliament allow the U.S. And NATO to keep a total of 12,000 troops in Afghanistan next year to support local forces.

The agreements come after administration officials say US President Barack Obama approved new guidelines allowing American troops to engage Taliban fighters, not just al Qaeda terrorists. Obama's decision also means the US can conduct air support when needed.  

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