11/21/13: The Washington Post reports Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday expressed support for a newly forged security pact that would permit thousands of US troops to remain in Afghanistan for 10 years, but suggested that he is unlikely to sign the agreement until after his country’s presidential elections in April. Following weeks of negotiation and diplomatic tension, Karzai said the draft bilateral security agreement was agreed to early Thursday, after President Obama wrote Karzai a letter assuring him that US forces will continue to respect the “sanctity and dignity of the Afghan people.” Karzai read the letter to more than 2,500 Afghan officials and leaders who are gathered in Kabul for four days of deliberations on the proposal. Speaking in a tent that resembled an inflatable sports stadium, Karzai urged the delegates at the event, known as a loya jirga, to consider the consequences of a full US withdrawal from the country. After 12 years of war, Obama has vowed to pull most of the remaining 39,000 US troops out of Afghanistan by the end of next year. But the administration has pressed to keep several thousand troops after 2014 to help train and support the Afghan National Army.