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NATO general for swift Afghan troops deal

Updated at: 07/26/2013 12:06 PM
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(AP) WARSAW, Poland - NATO’s top commander in Europe says it’s crucial for the alliance to have a security deal with Afghanistan on a post-2014 military presence there, but October is not the deadline.

Gen. Philip Breedlove, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, said in a telephone interview Friday it is "absolutely critical" to have the bilateral security agreement (BSA).

However, Breedlove said the October dateline mentioned this week by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is not key.

The agreement would allow NATO and its allies to offer training and support in Afghanistan after allied combat troops withdraw in 2014.

"October would be a great date," Breedlove said from NATO headquarters in Belgium "But what is most important is to have the BSA signed as soon as possible."

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)