Tuesday Dec 31, 201307:41 PM GMT
Pentagon urges Afghanistan to sign security deal

The US Defense Department has urged the Afghan government to sign a security deal that would authorize an enduring US military presence in the country while a recent poll shows the war in Afghanistan is the most unpopular war in the American history.

Despite pressures from Washington, Kabul has declined to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), which will allow thousands of US troops to stay in Afghanistan for up to a decade beyond 2014.

“We are prepared to sign the agreement,” said Steve Warren, the acting Pentagon spokesman, on Monday.

“We urge the government of Afghanistan to sign the agreement promptly. If we cannot conclude a BSA promptly, we will be forced to initiate planning for a post-2014 future that does not have a US troop presence there,” he added.

Washington has repeatedly said if the deal is not signed, it will have to pull its entire force of some 44,500 troops out of the Asian country by the end 2014, warning that the pullout could destabilize the war-stricken country.

Earlier in December, the administration of US President Barack Obama extended the deadline for signing the agreement to January despite an earlier ultimatum that the deal must be signed by the end of December.

The US efforts to force the Afghan government to sign the agreement come as a recent CNN/ORC International survey shows America’s longest war has become its most unpopular one as well.

The poll, released on Monday, indicates that support for the war in Afghanistan among Americans has dipped to just 17 percent and that a majority of Americans would like to see troops pull out of Afghanistan before the December 2014 withdrawal deadline.

ISH/ARA

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