Officials Acknowledge Afghan Security Talks Will Likely Carry Into Next Year

U.S. officials and NATO allies have previously stressed that the pact needs to be signed this year.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: H.E. Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan speaks during the Opening Ceremony & Leaders Panel at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum at ExCel on October 29, 2013 in London, England.
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Jordain Carney
Dec. 6, 2013, 2:26 a.m.

After an in­tense pub­lic push to get Afghan Pres­id­ent Ham­id Kar­zai to sign a bi­lat­er­al se­cur­ity agree­ment with the United States by the end of the year, U.S. of­fi­cials told The Wall Street Journ­al that ne­go­ti­ations could spill over in­to 2014.

“It’s really up to Pres­id­ent Kar­zai as to wheth­er he’s ready to sign this,” said a seni­or ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial. “We’re ready. The Afghan people are ready. The ball is in their court.”

Though of­fi­cials said that delay­ing the sign­ing of the agree­ment could in­crease in­stabil­ity with­in Afgh­anistan’s mil­it­ary force, a seni­or U.S. of­fi­cial ad­ded that “things don’t fall off a cliff on Dec. 31.”

Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Carl Lev­in, D-Mich., on Thursday wrote in a let­ter to Pres­id­ent Obama that the pub­lic cam­paign to get the pact signed this year has sent the wrong mes­sage to Kar­zai about the dy­nam­ics of U.S.-Afghan re­la­tions.

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