THE Prime Minister Julia Gillard vowed "not to abandon" Afghanistan after formally signing an aid agreement with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai.
After signing the document, that guarantees Australian aid of $300 million over three years, President Karzai said: "It is a very happy day for Afghanistan to consider ourselves partners with Australia, a people that has been so generous and kind to us."
He paid tribute to Australian men and women in uniform for risking their lives for Afghanistan's stability and thanked Australian taxpayers.
The document was signed before about 20 delegates at the first day of NATO meetings in Chicago, on Sunday afternoon US time.
In an earlier meeting with the United States President Barack Obama, Mr Karzai said he was "very much looking forward to an end to the war" and the day when Afghanistan would "no longer be a burden on the world".
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