(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- Despite Afghan President Hamid Karzai's words to the contrary, the head of NATO predicts that Kabul will sign the Bilateral Security Agreement that would keep a residual force of U.S. and coalition soldiers in Afghanistan past 2014.Karzai has been adamant about refusing to ink a post-war deal with Washington, saying it should be up to the new leaders of Afghanistan who will be elected in April.
The president has denounced the U.S., suggesting that American and NATO forces should pack up and leave the country now. However, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has been telling the press that Karzai has no other choice but to keep some coalition forces in the country once the bulk of foreign soldiers leave in 2014.
While the Afghans will take on all the security responsibilities that have mostly fallen on U.S. and NATO troops during the past 12 years, Fogh Rasmussen warned that Afghan soldiers and police still need training and assistance.
Furthermore, failure to sign the pact means that foreign governments are no longer obligated to their pledges of billions of dollars in economic aid to Afghanistan. Without these resources, for instance, Fogh Rasmussen said Kabul won't be able to pay its security forces.
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