US to open consulate in Nangarhar: Crocker
Speaking at a joint news conference with Governor Gul Agha Sherzai, Ambassador Ryan Crocker said the US also wanted to spend $70 (3.2 billion afghanis) on different projects in the province.
With the signing of the strategic cooperation pact, the US would have permanent political presence in Afghanistan and the focus of provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) would switch to civil services. The US would not abandon Afghanistan as it did in the 1990s, he promised.
Sherzai quoted the ambassador as saying that the US would expend $70 million on extension of electric cables, reconstruction of roads and in the field of agriculture.
America did not want to have military bases in Afghanistan, Crocker said.
But Mangal Sherzad, professor of political science at the Nangarhar University, said Crocker's direct promises to provincial authorities were against international diplomatic norms.
Instead, he suggested, the envoy should hold out such vows at meetings with central government officials. The embassies of powerful countries played the role of spies, he believed.
"The US government could not do anything regarding peace over the past 11 years. What can it do in two years from now?" he asked. This was Crocker's first trip to a province since his assumption of charge as US ambassador in Kabul.
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