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Thursday, July 19, 2018

‘New era’: US seals Kabul deal

Obama sets terms for bilateral ties after troop pullout; Taliban hit back with attacks

Written by New York Times | Kabul | Published: May 3, 2012 12:57:04 am

President Obama,speaking on Tuesday night from Bagram Air Base,declared that he had travelled here to herald a new era in the relationship between the US and Afghanistan,“a future in which war ends,and a new chapter begins.”

Obama’s address,during an unannounced visit to sign a strategic partnership agreement with President Hamid Karzai that sets the terms for relations after the departure of US troops in 2014,was a chance for him to make a case that he is winding down an unpopular war.

“My fellow Americans,” he said,speaking against a backdrop of armoured military vehicles and an American flag,“we’ve travelled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here,in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan,we can see the light of new day on the horizon.”

Obama also spoke of an “enduring partnership” with Afghanistan,invoking the agreement,which pledges US help for a decade in developing the Afghan economy and public institutions,though it makes no concrete financial commitments.

The agreement,Karzai said,opened “a new chapter in the relationship between the US and Afghanistan.”

Hours after Obama left the country,a suicide car bomber and Taliban militants disguised in burqas attacked a compound known as Green Village that houses hundreds of international contractors in Kabul. Seven people were killed,officials said. The Taliban said the attack was a response to Obama’s visit. The insurgency also claimed their spring offensive would be renewed on Thursday.

Obama had said earlier,“The goal I set — to defeat al-Qaeda — is now within our reach.”

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