The United States and Afghanistan on Tuesday signed a long-delayed security agreement that will allow about 9,800 American troops to remain in the country past this year.
"This agreement is only for Afghan security and stability," Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai said. The agreement was signed a day after Ahmadzai was signed into office.
The agreement ensures a long term presence of U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan and sets the two countries on a more stable relationship.
U.S. and Afghan officials had agreed on terms of the accord more than a year ago, but former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai had refused to sign. Karzai had an often rocky relationship with Washington.
Karzai had complained about U.S. airstrikes that have killed Afghan civilians and U.S. overtures to the Taliban, the Islamists who had ruled Afghanistan until ousted by American forces in 2001. The Taliban has been waging a civil war ever since.
Both Ahmadzai and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, had said they would sign the agreement if elected.
"We are eager to work with President Ghani and Chief Executive Officer Abdullah, and a new Afghan government, to achieve more success in the coming years," said James Cunningham, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.
The two formed a power-sharing government, with Abdullah named chief executive, a position with substantial influence within the government.