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U.S., Afghan gov'ts start strategic talks

Published By United Press International
KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- A strategic agreement between the U.S. and Afghan governments envisions no permanent U.S. military bases in Afghanistan, a statement declared.

The U.S. and Afghan governments started negotiations Thursday in Kabul on a bilateral security agreement. U.S. and international forces are looking to leave Afghanistan in 2014 as national forces gain strength.

"Both sides clarified that these negotiations are premised on the understanding that the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan or a presence that is perceived as a threat to Afghanistan's neighbors," the statement read.

The governments said the "guiding principles" of bilateral negotiations would focus on Afghan interests while advancing a shared interest in eliminating transnational terrorist threats.

Military training may extend beyond the 2014 deadline. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said this week that he was concerned cuts in defense spending may harm long-term goals in multilateral operations like the Afghan conflict.
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Race winner Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain (C) stands between second place finisher Christopher Froome of Great Britain (L) and third place finisher Vincenzo Nibali of Italy on the presentation podium following the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris on July 22, 2012. Wiggins of Great Britain became that country's first ever overall winner of the Tour de France. UPI/David Silpa