After much confusion over which was the final security agreement (news organizations citing it had linked to a November 2013 “predecisional” version) I’ve just obtained a copy of the new signed Bilateral Security Agreement between the United States and Afghanistan, via Spencer Ackerman at The Guardian. As he notes, the new agreement — like the old, unsigned one — provides for U.S. troops and access to military bases in Afghanistan until 2024 “and beyond.”

This only underscores the point I raised in my post earlier this week: exactly when and how does this war end? The Obama administration needs to explain.

Full text is here, and the preamble of the agreement is available in plain-text below the fold.



The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (hereinafter, “Afghanistan”) and the United States of America (hereinafter, “the United States”), referred to collectively as “the Parties” and singularly as a “Party;”

Recognizing the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United States of America, signed May 2, 2012, (the “Strategic Partnership Agreement”) and reaffirming that, as recognized in that Agreement, the Parties are committed to strengthen long-term strategic cooperation in areas of mutual interest, including: advancing peace, security, and stability; strengthening state institutions; supporting Afghanistan’s long-term economic and social development; and encouraging regional cooperation;

Confirming the recognition in the Strategic Partnership Agreement that cooperation between the Parties is based on mutual respect and shared interests;

Emphasizing also the Strategic Partnership Agreement’s recognition that the Parties will go forward in partnership with confidence because they are committed to seeking a future of justice, peace, security, and opportunity for the Afghan people, as well as the reaffirmation of the Parties’ strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national unity of Afghanistan;

Recognizing the enduring partnership between Afghanistan and the United States, and affirming the mutual intent of the Parties to expand, mature, promote and further elevate their security and defense cooperation based on this Agreement;

Desiring to continue to foster close cooperation concerning defense and security arrangements in order to strengthen security and stability in Afghanistan, contribute to regional and international peace and stability, combat terrorism, achieve a region which is no longer a safe haven for al-Qaida and its affiliates, and enhance the ability of Afghanistan to deter threats against its sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity; and noting that the United States does not seek permanent military facilities in Afghanistan, or a presence that is a threat to Afghanistan’s neighbors, and has pledged not to use Afghan territory or facilities as a launching point for attacks against other countries;

Recalling the Chicago Summit Declaration on Afghanistan, issued on May 21, 2012, by the Heads of State and Government of Afghanistan and Nations Contributing to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and specifically, the participants’ renewed firm commitment to a sovereign, secure, and democratic Afghanistan and acknowledgment that ISAF’s mission will be concluded by the end of 2014 and that their close partnership will continue beyond the end of the transition period including through NATO and Afghanistan’s mutual commitment to work to establish a new NATO-led Mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF), and noting here that such a mission will also need to be provided with the necessary authorities, status arrangements, and legal basis;

Reaffirming the continued support of the Parties for regional cooperation and coordination mechanisms, with a goal of increasing security and stability by reducing tensions, uncertainty, and misunderstanding;

Recalling the 2013 Consultative Loya Jirga’s recognition that this Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement between Afghanistan and the United States is important for the security of Afghanistan;

Desiring to develop further the means of defense and security cooperation between the Parties, based on the principles of full respect for the independence, sovereignty, and integrity of their territories, and non-interference in the domestic affairs of each other, in order to promote security and stability in the region, and to combat terrorism;

Agreeing on the importance of cooperative relationships between Afghanistan and its neighbors conducted on the basis of mutual respect, non-interference, and equality and calling on all nations to respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to refrain from interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs and democratic processes; and

Affirming also that the Parties’ cooperation is based on full respect for the sovereignty of each Party, the purposes of the United Nations Charter, and a shared desire to provide a framework for defense and security cooperation between the Parties; and reaffirming their strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national unity of Afghanistan, as well as respect for Afghan laws, customs, and traditions;

Have agreed as follows: