It’s a document with a pretty intimidating name, that’s for sure. Obama’s trip to Afghanistan early Wednesday local time seemed loaded with mystery — few knew he was there until he was actually there. He was there to sign a document that many watching the news had no idea existed until today. And the document itself is the definition of how a long-standing war will finally end, thirteen years after it started — at least as far as combat troops go. This document, just eight pages, was so important that the White House had to release a fact sheet to explain it to the average joe. What does it mean to you, anyway? Here are three things you should take from the Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement:
- one The U.S. government will continue to help the Afghan government train its security forces even after combat troops leave the country in 2014, with the goal of giving the entire region stability.
- two The U.S. will continue to fund security and development efforts in the country, but not by default — the president has to ask Congress for a new round of funding each year.
- three This effort goes both ways — Afghanistan is on the hook to improve the transparency and effectiveness of the government, while respecting the civil rights of its people. source
» So what’s the end date? The end of the document says this clearly: “It shall remain in force until the end of 2024.” (It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time this end date has been bandied about.) Which means, at that rate, the events around the Afghan War will be completely said and done 23 years after it started, though combat troops should be long gone. Hopefully.