Key Issue Said to Be Resolved in U.S.-Afghan Security Talks

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from The New York Times,

American and Afghan officials said Tuesday that they had reached a tentative deal to overcome one of the last major hurdles to a post-2014 security agreement, allowing for American-run raids on Afghan homes but only in “extraordinary circumstances.”

Afghan officials said that a long impasse over the issue had been overcome during a phone call by Secretary of State John Kerry to President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday. As part of the agreement, President Obama would be expected to acknowledge past “mistakes” by United States military forces, and to promise such mistakes would not be repeated, according to Mr. Karzai’s spokesman, Aimal Faizi.

A spokesman for the American Embassy, Robert Hilton, would not comment on details of the negotiations.

Just days ago, Afghan officials said that the raids issue was holding up an overall deal on the so-called bilateral security agreement, which would establish a framework for the continued presence of American troops in Afghanistan after the current 2014 deadline for Western troop withdrawal.

But even if both sides agree on a final wording, the Afghans have made their approval contingent on a vote this week by a loya jirga — a grand council of Afghan elders. And for weeks, analysts have said it was unlikely that the jirga would accept any American raids.

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