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Atmar, Saleh back US bases in Afghanistan

Atmar, Saleh back US bases in Afghanistan

By
On
Mar 04, 2011 - 17:46

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): Two influential former government officials on Friday supported a long-term US military presence in Afghanistaninfo-icon, saying American bases would help stabilise the country.

Political leaders, keeping in mind core national interests, should agree to the establishment of American bases, ex-interior minister Hanif Atmar and then spy chief Amrullah Saleh said.

Such bases would prove useful in minmising neighbours' interference, ending the ongoing conflict and strengthening the existing political system, they told a joint news conference in Kabul.

"Neighbours have long been jockeying for influence in this country," claimed Atmar, who urged the government to tell Americans to keep Afghanistan's interests supreme after the formation of the bases.

Regional countries, which oppose such a move, should know that Afghanistan would always try to promote its own interests, the ex-minister said. "The authorities concerned should think through the idea and avoid rushing into any decision."

Without direct support from the West, Afghanistan could not boost its war-tattered economy and political dispensation, believed the former intelligence boss. Poverty was the mother of insecurity, he remarked, insisting the country needed a US military presence.

"With the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the current system would collapse, because it has been put in place with their support," the ex-National Directorate of Security (NDSinfo-icon) head added.

Saleh said the international troops' presence represented an auspicious omen for Afghanis. "They didn't come with our consent and won't leave according to our desire. However, we should make full use of their presence."

It was not yet clear whether the US sought permanent bases in Afghanistan, where they did want a strong partner, he explained, asking the Karzai administration to spell out its stance on the issue in categorical terms.

"The present government supports both NATOinfo-icon as well as the Talibaninfo-icon, something that must end. Its position and policy should be unambiguous," he stressed. Few poor countries have been able to make progress without backing from the Western worldinfo-icon, Saleh concluded.

mudKABUL (PAN): Two influential former government officials on Friday supported a long-term US military presence in Afghanistan, saying American bases would help stabilise the country.

Political leaders, keeping in mind core national interests, should agree to the establishment of American bases, ex-interior minister Hanif Atmar and then spy chief Amrullah Saleh said.

Such bases would prove useful in minmising neighbours' interference, ending the ongoing conflict and strengthening the existing political system, they told a joint news conference in Kabul.

"Neighbours have long been jockeying for influence in this country," claimed Atmar, who urged the government to tell Americans to keep Afghanistan's interests supreme after the formation of the bases.

Regional countries, which oppose such a move, should know that Afghanistan would always try to promote its own interests, the ex-minister said. "The authorities concerned should think through the idea and avoid rushing into any decision."

Without direct support from the West, Afghanistan could not boost its war-tattered economy and political dispensation, believed the former intelligence boss. Poverty was the mother of insecurity, he remarked, insisting the country needed a US military presence.

"With the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan, the current system would collapse, because it has been put in place with their support," the ex-National Directorate of Security (NDS) head added.

Saleh said the international troops' presence represented an auspicious omen for Afghanis. "They didn't come with our consent and won't leave according to our desire. However, we should make full use of their presence."

It was not yet clear whether the US sought permanent bases in Afghanistan, where they did want a strong partner, he explained, asking the Karzai administration to spell out its stance on the issue in categorical terms.

"The present government supports both NATO as well as the Taliban, something that must end. Its position and policy should be unambiguous," he stressed. Few poor countries have been able to make progress without backing from the Western world, Saleh concluded.

mud

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