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Hagel: No post-2014 planning without Afghan pact

Updated at: 11/23/2013 10:35 AM
By LOLITA C. BALDOR

(AP) HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says he can’t recommend that President Barack Obama continue planning for a post-2014 force in Afghanistan unless Afghan leaders promptly sign a security agreement.

Hagel says that without an agreement the U.S. will have no clear understanding of what the Afghan people want, what an acceptable role for U.S. forces will be or how to carry out that mission.

Afghan leaders are meeting to consider a new security pact with the U.S., but President Hamid Karzai says he wants to wait until the elections next spring so his successor could sign the agreement. Hagel and other U.S. officials say it has to be signed by the end of this year.

Hagel was speaking to reporters before the start of a security forum here.

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