News / Asia

    Karzai Agrees to US Request for Bases

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of Kabul University in Kabul, May 9, 201
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a ceremony to mark the 80th anniversary of Kabul University in Kabul, May 9, 201
    Ayaz Gul
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai disclosed Thursday the United States wants to keep nine bases in his country after the 2014 withdrawal of foreign combat troops. The Afghan leader says Kabul is ready to let Washington have those bases, but it wants security and economic guarantees for Afghanistan. 

    For months, Afghanistan and the United States have been engaged in talks on a bilateral deal that would define the American military presence in the country after 2014, when most U.S. and NATO troops will have withdrawn.

    However, both sides have offered few details until now.
     
    On Thursday, Karzai said at a ceremony at Kabul University that discussions on the security agreement have entered a “crucial stage.”  He revealed for the first time that Washington is seeking control of nine bases across Afghanistan, including one in eastern Jalalabad city bordering Pakistan and one in western Herat near the Iranian border.  
     
    Karzai said that the presence of U.S. bases and the American relationship with Afghanistan past 2014 is good for the country's future. But he added Afghans will demand that America try hard to quickly bring peace to Afghanistan, strengthen its security forces and promise long-term economic development. Karzai said he would be prepared to sign a partnership deal when those demands are met.
     
    Washington is considering how to let some U.S. and coalition forces stay in Afghanistan after 2014 to continue the anti-terrorism campaign against al-Qaida operatives in addition to training and advising Afghan security forces.
     
    Media have reported that Karzai’s recent strong criticism of the United States has hurt progress in talks to finalize the proposed agreement.  In one of his statements in March, when it appeared that the strategic document was about to be signed, the Afghan president suggested that the United States and Taliban insurgents were in collusion to keep American forces in Afghanistan.
     
    Media reports also say that Karzai is demanding Washington side with his country if neighboring Pakistan poses a threat to Afghan security, but that U.S. officials have so far refused to agree to that demand. Border tensions between the two countries have been running high in recent weeks after clashes over a Pakistani border post that Kabul claims is well within its territory.
     
    While speaking in Islamabad Thursday, Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry again denied any encroachment.  
     
    "We have just shown maximum restraint," he said. "This post has been in existence since 2004 and, for us, these posts are meant to serve a very useful purpose. They are intended to better manage borders so that there is no cross-border infiltration. This is something which is in the mutual benefit of the two countries," Chaudhry said.
     
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    The spokesman also rejected Karzai’s recent assertions that the border between the two countries, called the Durand Line, is not acceptable to Afghanistan, and said it is a settled issue.

    Chaudhry also advised the Afghan leader to focus on pressing issues facing Afghanistan like peace and security instead of opening the border debate.

    Despite widespread international recognition, Afghans have never accepted the 2,600-kilometer frontier established in 1893 during British rule in India.

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    Comments
         
    by: MUSTAFA from: PAKISTAN
    May 09, 2013 10:51 PM
    As to get some more years with luxury this is good decision. We have seen economic up lift of Afghani peoples and up lift of ruling family. His brother is doing property business in Dubai. Now any body can guess from where he got millions dollars to do property and other business in Dubai and rest of the world. He is dummy and main player is some body else.

    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    May 09, 2013 9:59 PM
    The cost of mantaining so many bases, in human and economic terms will be astronomically high 20-30 trillion dollars in 20 yrs or even more trillions.... In addition, such bases would be only allowed to operate aircraft at Karzai's whim, and only between Karzai's frequent anti US/NATO temper tantrums; and sooner or later they would be held to ransom; fuel and supplies could be cutoff at any time by anyone; the terrorist would use such bases for target practice; large numbers of US ground forces (at least 1200 per base) would be required to defend the bases 24/7/365, in addition, another 500 to 700 would be required to support and carry out airops/ mantenance/ support work, etc, for a total required personnel of 2000 per base, grand total 18,000 people, and safety/ security would still be risky; never mind that the next Afghan president may want different terms and conditions.

    This strategy, of boots on the ground/aircraft on the ground, on nine Bases, in Afghanistan, makes no sense whatsoever. A far better and cheaper solution, if you need to have aircraft in the area, is to design and build 1000 (one thousand) B1/2 advanced long range stealth/hypersonic strategic bombers. Such a solution would keep the money in the USA; would not be subject to all the problems mentioned; on the long run it would be cheaper (money stays in the US), than to continue to sink trillons in the Afghan sink hole; and the new aircraft could be used for other global strategic missions, as required. Continued NATO or just US presence, on the ground, in Afghanistan makes ZERO SENSE!

    by: Haron from: Afghanistan
    May 09, 2013 2:59 PM
    it had better to stabilize Afghanistan without big devil (Britain) if any movement in Afghanistan can be a damage. i think one British Soldier mustn't be Afghanistan. we hate big devil (Britain) I demand from Obama and Karzai. if they consist UK's soldier in this agreement the environment will suppose an undemocratic government rather than democratic government on that time.

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