U.S. says believes it will strike deal with Afghans on troops

WASHINGTON Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:43am EDT

U.S. Army soldiers from Alpha Company 2nd battalion 27th infantry (The Wolfhounds), Task Force No Fear climb upon arrival to Observation Post Mace from Forward Operating Base Bostick in eastern Afghanistan Naray district, Kunar province near border of Pakistan in this August 26, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Nikola Solic/Files

U.S. Army soldiers from Alpha Company 2nd battalion 27th infantry (The Wolfhounds), Task Force No Fear climb upon arrival to Observation Post Mace from Forward Operating Base Bostick in eastern Afghanistan Naray district, Kunar province near border of Pakistan in this August 26, 2011 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Nikola Solic/Files

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States believes it will strike a deal with Afghanistan that will allow some American troops to stay in the country beyond 2014, when the NATO combat mission ends, the top U.S. diplomat on Afghanistan told Congress on Thursday.

"Without an agreement on our presence in Afghanistan, we would not remain. But we do not believe that that's the likely outcome of these negotiations," James Dobbins, the State Department's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, told a Senate hearing.

"Unlike Iraq, to which comparisons are often made, the Afghans actually need us to stay. Most Afghans want us to stay. And we have promised to stay."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Vicki Allen)

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