Rasmussen says he hopes Karzai will sign the agreement needed for NATO to reach its legal framework for plans to assist Afghan forces after combat troops leave at the end of 2014.

Rasmussen's comments Monday amounted to new pressure on Karzai a day before foreign ministers from NATO's 28 member states meet in Brussels.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the United States led an international intervention that toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and has taken the lion's share of responsibility in NATO's International Security Assistance Force since then.


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