Senator wants Karzai to address corruption, US to set up air baseBy Lalit K Jha Jan 3, 2011 - 11:07
WASHINGTON (PAN): A top Republican Senator on Sunday urged President Hamid Karzai to address the issue of corruption in the year 2011 and urged the US President, Barack Obama, to consider
WASHINGTON (PAN): A top Republican Senator on Sunday urged President Hamid Karzai to address the issue of corruption in the year 2011 and urged the US President, Barack Obama, to consider establishing permanent air bases in this country.
“I want an enduring relationship with Afghanistan past 2014 politically, economically and militarily so that country never goes back into the hands of Taliban or al Qaeda. The two words that will be talked about in 2011 with Afghanistan are corruption and Pakistan,” Senator Lindsay Graham told the NBC news in an interview.
“I am hopeful the Pakistani army will be bolder in attacking safe havens across the border that lays in Pakistan. I hope the Karzai government will better address corruption. I hope we can find an enduring relationship with Afghanistan that will make sure that country never goes back into the hands of terrorists,” he said.
“The idea of putting permanent military bases on the table in 2011 I think would secure our national interests and tell the bad guys and the good guys we are not leaving, we are staying in a responsible way if the Afghan people want us to stay,” Graham said, adding that it would be enormously beneficial to the region as well as Afghanistan.
“We have had air bases all over the world. A couple of air bases in Afghanistan would allow the Afghan security forces an edge against the Taliban in perpetuity. It would be a signal to Pakistan, the Taliban are never going to come back in Afghanistan that it could change their behavior,” he said.
This would be a signal to the whole region that Afghanistan is going to be a new and different place. “If the Afghan people want this relationship they are going to have to earn it. But I hope that they will seek a relationship with the United States before we can have an enduring relationship, economic and militarily and politically,” he said.
“A couple of air bases in Afghanistan will give us an edge militarily, give the Afghan security forces an edge militarily to ensure that country never goes back into the hands of the Taliban which would be a stabilizing advance throughout the whole region. That has to be earned by the Afghan people and has to be requested by them,” Graham said.