Secretary of State John Kerry made a surprise visit to Afghanistan Friday to try and advance a security deal that would allow American troops to stay in the country after the NATO-led military mission ends in 2014.
The U.S. has until Oct. 31 to broker a deal, yet the country has had differences with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on some key issues. Karzai has demanded American guarantees against any future foreign intervention, and is also wary of allowing a post-2014 U.S. military force to conduct counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations.
State Department officials called negotiations “doable and desirable”, but according to the AP, Kerry doesn’t expect to complete an agreement on this trip.
There are currently 87,000 international troops in Afghanistan, including 52,000 Americans. But if the U.S. and Afghanistan can’t reach a deal, no U.S. forces will remain in the country beyond 2014.