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Afghan president softens some demands on US deal

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PATRICK QUINN | November 27, 2013 07:33 AM EST | AP

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KABUL , Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's president says he has softened some of his demands on a security agreement with the United States after receiving assurances.

However, President Hamid Karzai again refuses to commit to signing it before the end of the year — a key U.S. request.

In an interview broadcast Wednesday by Radio Free Europe, Karzai said he would sign the deal if America meets demands to not raid Afghan homes and help restart peace talks. He appears to have taken a small step back on his demand that the U.S. guarantee free and fair presidential elections on April 5 following assurances he received during a Monday meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

His reluctance to sign the deal has perplexed Afghans, especially after a national gathering demanded he sign it.