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Hagel: U.S. To Plan For Orderly Withdrawal From Afghanistan

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AP Photo / Evan Vucci

"This is a prudent step given that President Karzai has demonstrated that it is unlikely that he will sign the Bilateral Security Agreement, which would provide DoD personnel with critical protections and authorities after 2014," Hagel said in a statement. "I appreciate the efforts of General Dunford and our military leaders to provide flexibility to the President as we work to determine the future of our presence in Afghanistan. "

"As the United States military continues to move people and equipment out of the Afghan theater, our force posture over the next several months will provide various options for political leaders in the United States and NATO," he added. "And during this time DoD will still continue planning for U.S. participation in a NATO-led mission focused on training, advising, and assisting Afghan security forces, as well as a narrowly focused counterterrorism mission."