The new Afghan unity government brought good news and new hopes for the people of Afghanistan. On the very next day as the government took oath, it signed two landmark accords with the international community.
On behalf of the Afghan government, the National Security Advisor Hanif Atmar signed the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with US Ambassador James Cunningham. Following the BSA, Atmar signed another vital accord, the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), with NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative Maurits Jochems.
These agreements provide the legal framework for the United States, NATO, and its partner nations’ continued commitment to train, advise, and assist Afghan National Security Forces, once ISAF mission draws to a close in December this year.
President Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, Chief Executive Officer Dr Abdullah, the two vice-presidents, cabinet members and jihadi leaders were also present at the signing ceremony.
Speaking on the occasion, President Ahmadzai said that Afghanistan would maintain its complete sovereignty under the deal aimed at ensuring the country’s security and warding off threats, Pajhwok Afghan News reported.
Ahmadzai assured the nation that night-time raids and civilian house searches would end, as international troops prepare to draw down.
Ambassador Cunningham pledged full respect for Afghanistan’s sovereignty and said they wanted to train and advise Afghan security forces. It would pave the ground for continued US and international aid, he noted.
The NATO representative, Maurits Jochems, expressed pleasure over signing of SOFA. After the end of 2014, NATO personnel would only advise the Afghan forces on how to combat terrorists, he explained.
ISAF has welcomed the signing of both the BSA and SOFA. “With the BSA and SOFA in place, we look forward to supporting the ANSF and Afghan security institutions with the NATO Resolute Support Mission,” said U.S. Army General John Campbell, Commander ISAF and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.
Afghans are happy to see the new government taking concrete steps towards peace and stability of the country.
Fazal Bari Baryali, a resident of Kandahar City, said that the BSA will also bring other benefits to the country. “I am sure this will encourage foreign investors to invest in our country, creating jobs for Afghans.”
Barkatullah Kamrawa, a student in Herat City, agrees with Baryali. “It is very important that security agreements have been signed because they will bring peace. I am sure that private international investors will return to Afghanistan. This is a great benefit for us. Many projects will be started, which means more work and more development.”
“We want to congratulate the new president and the unity government on signing agreements with the international community. It is time to celebrate the new Afghan hope, enhanced by the BSA,” Ghairatmand, in Balkh, said.
Haji Agha Mohammad, a farmer in Kandahar, said, “Together with the international partners, Afghanistan will be stronger. I know that Afghanistan has all the support, resources and capacity to develop and live in peace.”