US and Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement Reached
The United States and Afghanistan announced last week that the two countries have agreed on a draft of a strategic partnership which establishes US support in Afghanistan for a decade after the removal of combat troops. Combat troops are due to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2014. Under the agreement, which must still be approved by Congress and the White House, the US will continue to provide social and economic assistance as the country builds up its infrastructure and security.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "NATO and its partners cannot and will not abandon Afghanistan after 2014. Our ongoing support will be essential to preserving and building on the gains we've made thus far."
The announcement comes shortly after acts of violence against schools in Afghanistan. Last week, the Taliban closed or partially closed approximately 50 schools in southeast Afghanistan, many of which were girls' schools. On April 17th, 150 Afghan girls were poisoned in an attack on their school's water supply.
Media Resources: Voice of America 4/27/12; Washington Post 4/26/12; New York Times 4/22/12; Los Angeles Times 4/22/12; Feminist Daily News Wire 4/17/12