Regional cooperation to help avoid US permanent presence: Zwak
KABUL (PAN): "If neighbouring countries do not cooperate with the Afghan government to restore peace, it would accept the US offer of permanent military bases," said Afghanistan Research and Advisory Centre (ARAC) Director, Ghulam Jilani Zwak.
In an interview Jan. 2 on NBC’s Meet the Press, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham called for a permanent US military presence in Afghanistan.
Graham said: “...the idea of putting permanent military bases on the table in 2011 I think would secure our national interest and tell the bad guys and the good guys we're not leaving, we're staying in a responsible way if the Afghan people want us to stay".
The government has returned a draft of the agreement to the US with some conditions. Respecting Afghanistan's sovereignty, improved security, equipping and training Afghan forces are some of the conditions.
Afghan officials also insist that the US military presence should not harm the interest of neighbouring countries.
"If neighbours are not willing to cooperate with Afghanistan in the restoring peace and bringing stability, the country will be forced to enter such a deal with the US," Zwak told a press conference in Kabul.
He said the US under the pretext of the agreement wanted to bring Iran, Pakistan and China under its influence.
He said the US wanted better control of the region from the proposed bases, which would lead to a prolonged war that would legitimise the US presence.
The permanent military presence would help the US to shift its concentration towards regional countries, particularly Pakistan and Iran, where militants have been hiding.
"If Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups manage to topple the Pakistani government, it would engender that country's survival," he said, adding other regional countries like India, Russian and China would not be able to tolerate that situation which could land the region into trouble.
He said the war in Afghanistan was not in the interest of Iran and Pakistan. "Pakistan and Iran should cooperate with the Afghan government in dealing with the situation," he said.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.