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US: Signing US-Afghan pact will reduce uncertainty

By By DEB RIECHMANN

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. envoy to Afghanistan says a delay in signing a security agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan is raising anxiety and imposing unnecessary costs on the Afghan people.

A national assembly endorsed the deal last month, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he wants his successor to sign it. He says he'll do it only if the U.S. ends airstrikes and raids on Afghan homes and does more to help broker peace with the Taliban.

James Dobbins told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday that the delay in signing is causing the Afghan currency to slip in value, capital to flee and property values to drop.

Moreover, he says it makes it hard for the U.S. and other nations to plan for troops and other assistance after 2014.

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