DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2014 – Newly sworn-in Afghan President
Ashraf Ghani today signed the bilateral security agreement between his
government and the United States, as well as a status of forces agreement with
The agreements mark an historic day in the U.S.-Afghan
partnership that will help advance our shared interests and the long-term
security of Afghanistan,” President Barack Obama said in a statement released
by the White House.
Ghani was sworn into office yesterday and shares power with
Abdullah Abdullah, the country’s chief executive, in the new Afghan Government
of National Unity.
The signing of the agreements enables U.S. and NATO forces
to continue to assist the development of Afghan security forces past the end of
Agreements enable critical missions
“This agreement represents an invitation from the Afghan
government to strengthen the relationship we have built over the past 13 years
and provides our military service members the necessary legal framework to
carry out two critical missions after 2014: targeting the remnants of Al Qaeda
and training, advising, and assisting Afghan National Security Forces,” Obama
“The signing of the BSA also reflects the implementation of
the Strategic Partnership Agreement our two governments signed in May 2012,” he
Also today, Afghan and NATO officials signed the NATO Status
of Forces Agreement, giving forces from allied and partner countries the legal
protections necessary to carry out the NATO Resolute Support mission when ISAF
comes to an end later this year, the president said in his statement.
Agreements follow historic Afghan election
“These agreements follow an historic Afghan election in
which the Afghan people exercised their right to vote and ushered in the first
peaceful democratic transfer of power in their nation’s history,” Obama said.
“The BSA reflects our continued commitment to support the new Afghan Unity
Government, and we look forward to working with this new government to cement
an enduring partnership that strengthens Afghan sovereignty, stability, unity,
and prosperity, and that contributes to our shared goal of defeating Al Qaeda
and its extremist affiliates.”
The president also saluted the “extraordinary service of our
men and women in uniform who continue to sacrifice so much in Afghanistan on
behalf of our security and the Afghan people. The American people are eternally
grateful for their efforts.”
Strengthening Afghan forces
In a statement issued today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel
called the agreements “an important step forward” for Afghanistan’s new
These agreements “will enable American and coalition troops
to continue to help strengthen Afghan forces, counter terrorist threats, and
advance regional security,” Hagel said in his statement.
“As the Afghan people celebrate their nation's first
peaceful and democratic transfer of power, I look forward to working with
President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah, and other members of Afghanistan's
new government,” Hagel added.
The defense secretary saluted Army Maj. Gen. John F.
Campbell, commander of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S.
Forces in Afghanistan, and U.S., Afghan and partner nation troops.
“I also thank General Campbell, the men and women of ISAF,
and their partners in the Afghan National Security Forces as we bring our
combat mission to an end and build an enduring strategic partnership with the
people of Afghanistan,” Hagel said.
Chairman hails agreements, praises Afghan forces
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff, also welcomed today’s signing of the bilateral security agreement.
"After 12 years of investment and partnership, today's
decision by the Afghan government to approve the Bilateral Security Agreement
is a welcome one,” Dempsey said in a statement issued today. “It validates that
we have a willing partner as we move forward and provides certainty of our
continued presence there in 2015. It also paves the way for a continuing NATO
Dempsey also praised the Afghan security forces’ “tenacity
“Their success, through two elections and protracted
political uncertainty -- is enormous,” Dempsey said in his statement. “While
they are excellent fighters, their forces are still maturing at the
institutional level and our efforts there over the next year will be key to the
long-term sustainability of their forces."
ISAF commander congratulates Afghan people
U.S. Central Command commander, Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin
III, congratulated the people of Afghanistan on their “historic, peaceful
transfer of power” in a statement released today.
Ghani and Abdullah “are to be commended for their
cooperation and shared demonstrated commitment to their country and their
fellow citizens,” the general said.
There is still difficult work to be done in Afghanistan, particularly
with respect to the formation of the national unity government, Austin noted.
“However, I am hopeful that the leadership will do the right
things going forward,” he continued. “And, certainly today's signing of the
Bilateral Security Agreement between the governments of the United States and
Afghanistan signaled progress. This pact paves the way for further cooperation
and close collaboration between our countries.”
The U.S.-Afghanistan partnership “is an important one,” the
Centcom commander said.
“And as we prepare to transition to a traditional security
cooperation mission in the coming years, we remain committed to providing the
necessary support to our Afghan partners and, in particular, to their national
security forces,” the general said.
“They have come a long way and are doing an outstanding job
taking the fight to the enemy and defending their sovereignty. I am confident
that all Afghans will continue to do what is required to seize this historic
opportunity and to keep their country safe,” Austin said.