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US, Afghanistan agree on security agreement after 2014, Kerry says

Post-2014 US-Afghanistan security deal goes before 2,500-member Loya Jirga council this week.

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Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaks about Afghanistan while Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel listens during a news conference at the State Department on November 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/AFP/Getty Images)

The United States and Afghanistan have reached an agreement on a security framework that will govern American involvement there after 2014.

A collection of more than 2,500 tribal, government and cultural leaders – known as the Loya Jirga – will meet on Thursday in Kabul to vote on the draft agreement, Reuters reported.

“We have reached an agreement as to the final language of the bilateral security agreement that will be placed before the Loya Jirga tomorrow,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters Wednesday.

The final text of the Bilateral Security Agreement will determine the presence of US troops after 2014.

Reports that President Barack Obama will apologize to the Afghan people for civilian casualties as part of the agreement are false, Kerry added.

He said Afghan President Hamid Karzai has not asked for an apology, according to Reuters.

“The important thing for people to understand is there has never been a discussion of or the word ‘apology’ used in our discussions whatsoever,” Kerry said.

Now, tribal elders will review the draft over several days of meetings, Voice of America said.

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While non-binding, council members can revise or reject any clause. Outright rejection would likely force the Afghan government to back away from signing, VOA reported.

Talk of an apology gained traction Tuesday when reports surfaced that Obama would write a letter to Karzai.

Also at issue are American troops raiding Afghan homes and immunity for US soldiers who commit crimes in the country, The Washington Post said.

The US wants any crimes committed by troops there to fall under Defense Department jurisdiction.

Most troops are to withdraw next year from the embattled nation, in the grips of conflict since US and United Nations troops forced the Taliban from power in 2001.

However, the US will likely keep between 5,000 and 10,000 troops there to support Afghan forces as they assume full control of security in the country, the Post said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/war/afghanistan-war/131120/us-afghanistan-agree-security-agreement-after-2014-kerry-sa