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By Richard Engel, Chief Foreign correspondent
KABUL – While many Americans have been led to believe the war in Afghanistan will soon be over, a draft of a key U.S.-Afghan security deal obtained by NBC News shows the United States is prepared to maintain military outposts in Afghanistan for many years to come, and pay to support hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces.
The wide-ranging document, still unsigned by the United States and Afghanistan, has the potential to commit thousands of American troops to Afghanistan and spend billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars.
The document outlines what appears to be the start of a new, open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan in the name of training and continuing to fight al-Qaeda. The war in Afghanistan doesn’t seem to be ending, but renewed under new, scaled-down U.S.-Afghan terms.
“Here are the basics of what you need to know on where budget talks are in Congress: Right now, a bipartisan budget conference committee is working to produce a long-term budget solution — they have until December 13th to hammer out a plan. >From there, Congress will have until January 15th to debate, tweak, and pass the budget to avoid another government shutdown. That’s also the day that the next round of devastating sequester cuts will go into effect — these cuts were designed to put pressure on Congress to find a solution. If they fail to pass a budget by that date, the new round of sequestration cuts will be much more severe than the ones we saw in 2013. Many government agencies still had funding available from previous years that they were able to dig into, and take steps to prevent furloughs and deep budgetary cuts — but now, they’re running out of options, and another round of sequester cuts would slow our fragile economic recovery. The bottom line is that there’s a lot at stake over the next two months. Congress needs to step up and pass a long-term budget that addresses sequester cuts and grows our economy from the middle out.” …Nico Probst, OFA
[ A Call to Worship and Obedience ] Oh come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
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