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Afghan Lawmakers Approve Security Accords with US, NATO

November 23, 2014 
Afghanistan's lower
 and upper houses of parliament approved agreements with the United States and NATO allowing international forces to remain in the country past the end of this year, amid a renewed offensive by Taliban militants. 
The accords permit the U.S. and NATO to keep 12,000 troops in Afghanistan to support local forces. 
The ratification Sunday followed reports that President Barack Obama has issued new guidelines expanding the U.S. military's ability to confront Taliban fighters, not just al-Qaida, in Afghanistan. 
Speaking under condition of anonymity, U.S. officials told news outlets the decision will allow U.S. troops to go after Taliban fighters if they pose a threat to U.S. and coalition forces. The order reportedly also applies if the militants provide direct support to al-Qaida. The new authorization for 2015 also means the U.S. can offer air support to Afghan troops when needed.