President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday signed the US-Afghan Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement in Kabul. “Today, we’re agreeing to be long-term partners in combating terrorism and training Afghan security forces; strengthening democratic institutions and supporting development; and protecting human rights of all Afghans,” stated Obama at the May 1 signing ceremony (US East Coast time). The agreement defines the US-Afghan relationship post 2014 after US troops are out of Afghanistan and Afghan forces are in charge of the country’s security. The agreement does provide for the possibility of US forces in Afghanistan after 2014 for the purposes of training Afghan forces and targeting the remnants of al Qaeda. It commits Afghanistan to provide US personnel access to, and use of, Afghan facilities through 2014 and beyond. It also commits the two nations to negotiate a bilateral security agreement to supersede the current status-of-forces agreement. “Our goal is to destroy al Qaeda, and we are on a path to do exactly that,” stated Obama later on Tuesday—the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death—when discussing the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan in a televised address to the US public from Bagram Airfield.
Obama-Karzai remarks at signing ceremony
Obama’s address to nation
White House blog entry with video link to President’s speech