(WASHINGTON) — With an agreement to allow Afghan forces to take the lead on controversial raids now signed, sealed and delivered, Washington and Kabul moved forward Tuesday on the more complicated matter of hammering out a strategic partnership document that would go into effect after the scheduled 2014 withdrawal of coalition forces.
The agreement, when it happens, will likely follow the blueprint of one crafted by the U.S. and Iraq to guarantee Afghan sovereignty once troops have exited the country.
However, given the intricacies of the 10-year-long conflict, discussions will have to proceed at a lightning fast pace since President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai want it ready when they meet next month at a NATO summit on Afghanistan in Chicago.
Marc Grossman, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, admitted as much to reporters, telling them, “The sooner we can sign the [strategic partnership document] with Afghanistan, people then will have to realize that there is going to be an American presence in Afghanistan for some time to come.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio