President ObamaBarack Hussein Obama Chelsea Manning tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows Obama backs Trudeau in Canadian election MORE wrote in a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai Wednesday that the U.S. will continue to respect “Afghan sovereignty” under a new security agreement.
Secretary of State John Kerry agreed to a deal Wednesday that outlines how the U.S. military forces remaining in Afghanistan will proceed after the Obama administration’s 2014 withdrawal deadline.
The U.S. is considering maintaining 9,000 to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after the withdrawal. The agreement needs to be approved by Afghanistan’s parliament and the Jirga, a group of 2,500 Afghan elders.
While the Obama administration wants it to be finalized as soon as possible, it could be delayed from being implemented. Karzai announced Thursday that he wouldn’t want the agreement to be signed until after Afghan elections in spring 2014.
“We look forward to completing this agreement promptly,” Obama wrote in the letter. The U.S. had wanted to reach an agreement by Oct. 31.
Obama assured Karzai Americans will not conduct raids on Afghan homes unless there are “extraordinary circumstances," according to the letter.
Obama also addressed Karzai’s fears about his citizens’ safety and privacy.
"Over time, and especially in the recent past, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure that Afghan homes are respected by our forces and that our operations are conducted consistent with your law," Obama wrote. "We will continue to make every effort to respect the sanctity and dignity of Afghans in their homes and in their daily lives, just as we do for our own citizens."
On Wednesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters the agreement would mark the final chapter in the over decade-long Afghan war.
"The war in Afghanistan will end next year, as the president has promised," Carney said. "The combat mission will be over."
Earlier this week, a rumor spread that claimed Obama was drafting an apology for the war in Afghanistan.
"No such letter has been drafted or delivered. There is not a need for the United States to apologize to Afghanistan," said National Security Adviser Susan Rice during an interview Tuesday on CNN.
"We have sacrificed and supported [Afghanistan] in their democratic progress and in tackling the insurgents and al Qaeda. So that [apology] is not on the table.”
Obama wrote to Karzai, “The U.S. commitment to Afghanistan’s independence, territorial integrity, and national unity, as enshrined in our Strategic Partnership Agreement, is enduring, as is our respect for Afghan sovereignty.”