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Afghan defense minister hopes US will not abandon Afghanistan after 2014


Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. Karzai says a national meeting of elders should be called to decide whether U.S. troops staying in Afghanistan after 2014 would be immune from prosecution under Afghan law. (AP Photo/Ahmad Jamshid) (The Associated Press)

Afghanistan's defense minister says he is optimistic the United States will not abandon his country after foreign combat troops leave at the end of 2014.

Bismullah Khan Mohammadi says he doesn't believe America will repeat the mistake it made after the 1989 Soviet pullout from Afghanistan and forget his country. A civil war that broke out after the Soviet exit led to the rise of the Taliban.

Mohammadi, who accompanied President Hamid Karzai to Washington last week, also told reporters on Tuesday that a bilateral security agreement that includes the contentious issue of immunity from Afghan law for American troops will be negotiated within eight or nine months.

If the immunity issue is not resolved, the U.S. will not leave any troops in Afghanistan after 2014.