Washington: Making his way into Afghanistan unannounced, US President Barack Obama signed a landmark Strategic Partnership Agreement strengthening post-war ties with Kabul after 2014 when American combat forces return home.
The ten-page long-term agreement pledges US support for Afghanistan for a decade after 2014, when NATO forces are planning to conclude their combat role.
Obama, who arrived in Kabul in the middle of the night on Tuesday called the agreement "a historic moment for our two nations." "I'm here to affirm the bond between our two countries and to thank Americans and Afghans who have sacrificed so much over these last ten years.
"Neither Americans nor the Afghan people asked for this war yet for a decade we've stood together. Today with the signing of the strategic partnership agreement we look forward to a future of peace. Today we're agreeing to be long-term partners," he said.
With this agreement, the US President said the Afghan people and the world should know that Afghanistan has a partner in the United States.
"As we move forward I'm confident Afghan forces will grow stronger and the Afghan people will take control of their future....," he said.
According to a White House fact sheet, the Strategic Partnership Agreement is not only a signal of US' long-term commitment to Afghanistan, but it enshrines their commitments to one another and a common vision for their relationship and Afghanistan's future.
The SPA is a legally binding executive agreement, undertaken between two sovereign nations. US commitments to support Afghanistan's social and economic development, security, institutions and regional cooperation are matched by Afghan commitments to strengthen accountability, transparency, oversight, and to protect the human rights of all Afghans -– men and women, it said.