WASHINGTON - US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who met with his Afghan counterpart Bismillah Khan Mohammadi in Brussels on Wednesday, said an early conclusion of the bilateral security agreement was in the best interest of the two countries.
At the meeting that took place on the sidelines of a NATO defense ministerial meeting in the Belgium capital, Hagal commended the progress the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) had made this year, when they took the lead in providing security for Afghan people in most parts of the war-torn country.
Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters in Washington the defense secretary stressed there was still work to be done for addressing Afghanistan's security challenges.
“It remains critical for Afghanistan to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) in order to enable continuing partnership between US and Afghan armed forces,” Little said.
He said Hagel also emphasized concluding the BSA, a continued development of Afghan forces, and a secure, credible and inclusive elections all were in Afghanistan's long-term interests.
“The Secretary underscored that the US Armed Forces look forward to continuing to work with ANSF to pursue Afghan security,” he added.
Afghanistan was the major topic of discussion when Hagel met his counterparts from other countries attending the NATO meeting.
“Hagel recognized Hungary’s long-standing contributions in Afghanistan, notably its Special Operations Forces support, as well as the Hungarian military’s force protection mission at Kabul International Airport,” Little said in a statement after Hagel’s meeting with Hungary’s Minister of Defense, Csaba Hende.
In his meeting with the Canadian Defense Minister, Rob Nicholson, Hagel thanked him for Canada's support for the international effort in Afghanistan. They discussed the progress being made in the mission there, as well as the challenges that remain.
Hagel in his meeting with the Australian Defense Minister, David Johnston, expressed deep appreciation for Australia's contributions to the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, Little said. (Pajhwok)