US: No security pact could cost Afghanistan

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. envoy to Afghanistan says if U.S. and NATO troops are not allowed to stay to advise and train Afghan forces, the country risks more widespread violence and political disintegration.

James Dobbins says that U.S. public support of the war continues to wane with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's refusal to sign a bilateral security agreement. The agreement would provide a legal basis for some U.S. troops to stay in the country after the international combat mission ends this year.

Dobbins says President Barack Obama's decision to possibly wait to sign the agreement with Karzai's successor means a deal might still be worked out.

But he says the delay could prove costly in terms of the size of that force and future financial assistance to Afghanistan.

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