US doesn't want permanent Afghan bases: Grossman
KABUL(PAN): US Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman has said his country is not in quest of permanent military bases in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries need not worry in this regard.
After US senators proposed permanent military bases in the conflict-torn country, the Obama administration entered talks with Afghan leadership on a strategic cooperation agreement.
However, President Hamid Karzai says the US will have to accept his conditions for strategic relations. "We have tied up their hands and feet," Karzai said of his government's conditions for the agreement.
Diplomat Marc Grossman, who arrived in Kabul on Sunday, addressed a joint press conference with US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry in the Afghan capital on Monday.
The strategic agreement was in no way a matter of concern for Afghanistan's neighbours, including Pakistan, Iran, Russia and India, said Grossman, who was appointed to the post on February 18.
He succeeded Richard Holbrooke, a formidable negotiator who died suddenly on December 13 of a torn aorta at age 69.
Grossman said regional countries should be happy and cooperative in brining peace and stability to Afghanistan. He hoped the proposed strategic agreement would result in achieving the goal of stabilising the region.
The diplomat said he met with President Hamid Karzai on Sunday and discussed with him the security transition and the proposed strategic agreement. He insisted the US had no intention to establish permanent military bases in Afghanistan.
The agreement would define relations between the US and Afghanistan after the completion of the security transition process beginning in July this year.
Grossman said he planned to meet members of the Afghanistan Ulema Council before leaving for Pakistan and then Saudi Arabia. His trip to the region was to tell Afghanistan's neighbours the US was supportive of the peace process and the military mission in Afghanistan was part of the strategy.
He said his country would continue to support Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal of foreign troops.
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