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U.S. troop withdrawl negotiations begin with Afghanistan

Afghan men work brick factory Surkh Rod district Nangarhar east Kabul Afghanistan Thursday Nov. 15 2012. Men work factory 8

Afghan men work at a brick factory in Surkh Rod, district of Nangarhar east of Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Men work at the factory 8 hours a day for about $USD 9. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

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Updated: November 15, 2012 8:50AM

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United States and Afghanistan are starting negotiations on an agreement that will shape America’s military presence in the country after the withdrawal of most foreign combat troops at the end of 2014.

Representatives from the two countries began talks on a bilateral security accord on Thursday in Kabul.

They will grapple with potentially divisive issues about the future U.S. military footprint in Afghanistan and whether U.S. troops can be prosecuted under Afghan law — an issue that sank America’s security deal with Iraq last year.

After Thursday, the next round is expected in December, although decisions on the most contentious issues could be put off until later.

The lead negotiators are James Warlick, the U.S. deputy special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Eklil Hakimi, Afghanistan’s ambassador in Washington.

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