NATO seeks clarity on troops in Afghanistan

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Associated Press

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 3 at 2:34 PM

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO Diplomats are applying new pressure on Afghanistan's leaders to agree to allow thousands of foreign troops to remain there beyond next year, or risk being left with no international military force assistance.

Meeting in Brussels today, U.S. and NATO officials are saying they do not want to go to the so-called zero option in Afghanistan — even if doing so could free up thinning resources for other crises that may pose a greater threat to the world.

But Afghan President Hamid Karzai's refusal to sign an agreement for continued troop presence past 2014 is putting the U.S. and its allies in the awkward political position of threatening to leave even as they make the case to stay.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (AHN'-derz fohg RAHS'-moo-sihn) says if Karzai continues to block an agreement, "there can be no deployment and the planned assistance will be put at risk."

American officials have demanded that Karzai sign a security agreement with the U.S. by the end of the year.

%@AP Links

126-a-16-(NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (AHN'-durz fohg RAHS'-moo-sihn), at news conference)-"put at risk (second reference)"-NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says NATO security assistance and financial aid to Afghanistan will be in jeopardy if Afghan President Hamid Karzai does not sign a security agreement with the U.S. soon. COURTESY: NATO TV ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *126 (12/03/13)££ 00:16 "put at risk (second reference)"

125-a-15-(NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (AHN'-durz fohg RAHS'-moo-sihn), at news conference)-"our continued assistance"-NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen joins the U.S. in urging Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a security agreement with Washington by the end of the year. COURTESY: NATO TV ((mandatory on-air credit)) (3 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *125 (12/03/13)££ 00:15 "our continued assistance"

APPHOTO VLM108: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaks with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, right, during a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will join other NATO foreign ministers for a two-day meeting in hopes of persuading Afghan leaders to let international troops remain in the war-torn country beyond 2014. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) (3 Dec 2013)

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APPHOTO VLM105: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, fourth right, looks at colleagues as he waits for the start of a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will join other NATO foreign ministers for a two-day meeting in hopes of persuading Afghan leaders to let international troops remain in the war-torn country beyond 2014. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) (3 Dec 2013)

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APPHOTO VLM103: NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, center, opens a meeting of the North Atlantic Council at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will join other NATO foreign ministers for a two-day meeting in hopes of persuading Afghan leaders to let international troops remain in the war-torn country beyond 2014. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo) (3 Dec 2013)

<<APPHOTO VLM103 (12/03/13)££

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