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Tuesday
Jul232013

US, Afghanistan Back on Track to Hammer Out Post-War Pact

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Dexter S. Saulisbury/Released(KABUL, Afghanistan) -- The so-called "zero-option" in Afghanistan might not come to pass after all.

With relations between Washington and Kabul on the outs again, there had been reports that the White House was mulling the possibility of leaving no troops behind when the U.S. and its coalition allies withdraw from Afghanistan next year.

This was largely because Afghan President Hamid Karzai had broken off talks about a post-war security pact with the U.S. after the Taliban had set up disputed headquarters in Qatar that have since closed.

However, after meeting Monday with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Karzai seemed to change his tune.

A statement released by the Afghan leader's office said, "Afghans are ready to sign a security pact with the U.S., on the condition that it leads to peace and stability in the country, the strengthening of Afghan forces, and a united and sovereign Afghanistan."

Dempsey said that Washington also wanted a bilateral agreement with Afghanistan to bolster the country's security after a majority of coalition forces leave in 2014.

There was no statement about just how big a force the U.S. might leave behind, with previous estimates having been in the range of 3,000-5,000, although it could run as high as 10,000.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio