POLITICS: PennAve

John Kerry announces deal on Afghan security pact, says no 'apology'

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Politics,White House,John Kerry,Afghanistan,PennAve,Secretary of State,Meghashyam Mali,Foreign Policy

Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday announced that negotiators had finalized the language for an Afghan security pact outlining the role of American troops after 2014 and denied the deal included a U.S. "apology" for its conduct in the war.

“We reached an agreement as to the final language of the bilateral security agreement that will be placed before the Loya Jirga tomorrow,” Kerry told reporters at a press conference.

The deal must be approved by a council of Afghan elders before taking effect.

Kerry also shot down reports that Afghan President Hamid Karzai had demanded that the U.S. apologize or admit that mistakes were made during the decade-long war on terror as part of the deal.

“Let me be clear. President Karzai didn't ask for an apology,” Kerry said. “There was no discussion of an apology."

"It's just not even on the table,” he added. “He didn't ask for it, we're not discussing it and that is not the subject that we have been talking about.”

Kerry said the U.S. role going forward would be “very limited.”

“It is entirely train, equip and assist. There is no combat role for United States forces,” he added.

Kerry declined to comment specifically on the details of the agreement, saying that it was up to the people of Afghanistan to accept it now.

"The agreement will speak for itself when the agreement is approved,” said Kerry.

“I think it's up to President Karzai to speak to the Loya Jirga, its process and how it will work and what the results will be,” said Kerry. “And it's up to President Obama and the White House to address any issues with respect to any possible communication between the president or President Karzai."

The diplomatic breakthrough came after months of contentious talks between the U.S. and Karzai.

NATO coalition troops are slated to leave in 2014, but the Obama administration hopes to retain a residual force to provide training for the Afghan military and help stabilize the country. Taliban forces are still waging a fierce fight against Karzai’s government and military experts have questioned the readiness of Afghanistan’s national security forces.

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