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NATO may have plan for Afghan pullout by spring

BERLIN--NATO would have to start planning for a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan by early next spring if President Hamid Karzai refuses to sign a security pact allowing foreign troops to stay on, the alliance's top military commander said on Tuesday.

Karzai's ties with Washington have been strained by his refusal to sign a security agreement that will shape the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014 when most international troops will leave.

Without the U.S.-Afghan accord, NATO says it will not be able to finalize its own agreement with the Afghan government setting the terms for troops from other allies to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

The United States and NATO say that, without these agreements, they would have to pull all of their forces, currently 84,000-strong, out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

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