Published On: Sun, Jan 19th, 2014
Published in Category: International

Obama establishes Af-Pak strategic partnership office

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Washington: Ahead of the drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, US President Barack Obama has announced to establish an Af-Pak Strategic Partnership Office (APSPO) to oversee smooth transition and promote normalised diplomatic presence in both countries.

In an executive order, Obama said the APSO has been tasked to perform the specific project of supporting executive departments and agencies in facilitating a strategic partnership with the two south Asian countries.

Obama said this is a temporary office and would be based in Washington, Islamabad and Kabul.

It would promote security and stabilisation and transitioning to a normalised diplomatic presence in both countries, Obama said in his executive order.

In addition to coordinating the final drawdown of the Department of State’s civilian field operations and staff in Afghanistan, Obama said the APSPO would support agencies in transitioning to a strategic partnership with the governments of the two countries in the economic, diplomatic, cultural, technology, and security fields, particularly in the areas of program management, rule of law, and program oversight.

Meanwhile, State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki reiterated that the Afghani Government needs to sign the bilateral security agreement as soon as possible.

“We continue to press for the Afghan Government to sign the BSA given how important it is for planning for the United States, for our NATO allies,” she said.

“Obviously, as time goes on, we may approach a point where we’ll need to plan for a post-2014 presence or no post-2014 presence. That has consistently been our view,” she said.