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We don't want permanent Afghan bases: Eikenberry

We don't want permanent Afghan bases: Eikenberry

Feb 20, 2011 - 20:37

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): US Ambassador to Afghanistaninfo-icon W. Karl Eikenberry said on Sunday that his country was not interested in a long-term military presence in Afghanistan if its neighbours felt threatened.

The US and the international community, committed to supporting the Afghan government, would stay in Afghanistan as long as their presence was desired, he told a news conference in Kabul.

"If Afghans and their government ask us for a long-term military presence, then some military bases will be needed. However, it does not mean that our bases will be forever," the diplomat explained.

Earlier in the day, defence ministry spokesman, Gen. Zahir Azimi, said that the proposed American bases in Afghanistan would help check neighbours' interference in the country.

On Saturday, President Hamid Karzai said that any decision on permanent American bases would be taken by Afghan Parliament and other state institutions.

About the handover of security control to Afghan forces, Eikenberry said: "We will maintain long-term military cooperation with Afghanistan but this policy may change over the next three years."


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