Washington: The US and Afghanistan on Wednesday announced negotiators who will work on a bilateral security agreement that would establish the framework of their security relationship post 2014 when the US and foreign forces withdraw from the war-torn nation.
While Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Warlick, will lead the negotiations for the US, the Afghan Ambassador to the US, Eklil Hakimi, will represent his country for the Bilateral Security Agreement negotiations that need to be concluded within one year of its start.
The announcement in this regard was made by US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, and his Afghan counterpart, Zalmai Rassoul, during the Afghan-US Bilateral Commission meeting here.
Hillary said the Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in May and this bilateral commission will help to guide the relationship between the two countries as they move to the next phase of relationship.
"It reflects a shared vision and a shared commitment to mutual responsibility and accountability. And it focuses on areas that will be critical to Afghanistan`s future, including in the areas of security, human rights and democracy, institutions and governance, economic development, and regional security and cooperation," she said.
"We will discuss specific steps that we can take together to implement the Strategic Partnership Agreement.
"One of the things we will talk about is our plan to begin negotiating the next piece of our bilateral partnership: the Bilateral Security Agreement, which will establish the framework of our future security relationship based on our shared vision of a secure and stable Afghanistan," she said.
Hillary acknowledged that the past few months have presented obstacles and some potential setbacks.
"We know that difficult days lie ahead. But despite the challenges, the United States is committed to the people of Afghanistan.
"And we have made progress together that too often is overlooked in the face of the headlines that talk about some unfortunate incident," she said.
Rasool said Afghanistan approaches this partnership from the fundamental premises that serve their national interest, and is potentially linchpin of security and stability in the region.
"We will continue to make progress in pursuit of our common strategic objectives, and ensuring the safety, security, and prosperity of the Afghan people," he said.
This Bilateral Commission, he said, will grow into the
most key forum for US-Afghan relation and partnership, and to convene in point for many committed actors in both the government and to expansive dialogue to define and implement coordinated collaborative action in realising their common interest and shared goals.
Afghanistan, he said, is fully committed to building on their shared success of the last decade, delivering results, and taking on the challenges ahead.
"There are important priorities before us, all of which are crucial for the long-term security, stability, and prosperity of Afghanistan.
"We are encouraged by the continued progress of the transition process and the long-term commitment we have from our allies in -- to support the Afghan security forces.
"In this regard, negotiating a comprehensive bilateral security agreement between our countries to the satisfaction of both sides is of paramount importance," the Afghan Minister said.