US wants to keep nine military bases in Afghanistan: Karzai
Iran Press TV
Thu May 9, 2013 8:45AM GMT
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Washington has demanded to keep nine military bases across war-torn Afghanistan, Press TV reports.
During a speech at Kabul University on Thursday, Karzai said that the US planned to keep its nine bases in the main cities of Afghanistan, such as the capital Kabul, Kandahar, and Herat.
"We are in very serious and delicate negotiations with America," the Afghan president said.
Karzai added that Afghanistan also had its demands and interests in the negotiations.
"Our conditions are that the US intensify efforts in the peace process, strengthen Afghanistan's security forces, provide concrete support to the economy - power, roads and dams - and provide assistance in governance."
The Afghan president said that Afghanistan would be ready to sign a security pact if such conditions were met.
On May 4, after signing a bilateral security agreement, Karzai announced his decision to allow US forces to remain inside Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal deadline.
On May 2, 2012, Washington and Kabul signed a deal that authorized the presence of US troops for a period of 10 years after 2014, which was the original date agreed earlier for the departure of all foreign combat troops from Afghanistan. Afghanistan's parliament approved the pact on May 26.
Karzai had confirmed for the first time in 2011 that the administration of US President Barack Obama had demanded the establishment of a system of permanent US military bases across Afghanistan.
The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington's so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but insecurity remains across the country despite the presence of thousands of foreign troops.
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