Obama Signs Bill Including Afghan War Funds
KABUL – US President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law a compromise defence bill that includes funds for the American military campaign in Afghanistan. The defense bill also seeks closure of the US detention facility in Guantanamo in and stepped-up repatriation of detainees from the naval base. But it prevents transfer of detainees to the US, a restriction opposed by Obama.
Containing $552.1 billion in military spending, the legislation has $80.7 billion for overseas contingency operations — the war in Afghanistan — and allows for a one-percent raise for military personnel. “Today I have signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act … because it will provide pay and bonuses for our service members, enhance counterterrorism initiatives abroad …” the president said in a statement.
Currently vacationing in Hawaii, Obama said the continued operation of the Guantanamo Bay facility weakened US security by draining resources, damaging its relationships with key allies and partners and emboldening extremists. Approved by the US Senate on December 20, the act allows a Pentagon base budget of $526.8 billion in 2014. That amount will have to be reconciled early next year with the $498 billion agreed to in the budget deal. (PAN)