Hundreds oppose idea of permanent US bases
Organised by the National United Front (NUF), the protesters, including former mujahedeen, students and teachers, gathered in front of the Kabul University at around 9am.
The protestors chanted: "Down with America and long live Islam, national consensus is the only way to resolve the conflict and we don't want the presence of foreign troops in our country."
Former lawmaker and NUF member Haji Farid said the presence of international forces had had a negative impact on national security over the past decade and would continue to do so in the future.
NATO-led troops flouted Afghan traditions by conducting irresponsible nighttime raids and house searches, Farid alleged, insisting insecurity had increased after the US-led invasion of the country.
Terming the upcoming traditional Loya Jirga slated on a strategic pact with the US as illegal, he claimed the gathering was aimed at granting approving foreign military bases in the country.
Jirga members would be nominated by the government, he alleged, suggesting the participants should be selected from amongst district council members.
Haji Farid said: "If the US is allowed permanent military bases, will it promise that it won't leave Afghanistan in ruins? And will it give Afghanistan the nuclear bomb? The answer is a big no, and that's why permanent bases should not be allowed."
NUF member Eng. Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai said there was no need for permanent foreign military presence in the country. "We support the peace process, but the goal could not be realised with foreign forces fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan."
He believed peace could be brought after the withdrawal of foreign troops, an end to war and neighbours' incursions into Afghanistan. "After foreign troops' pullout, we are ready to mediate between militants and the government."
Maulvi Mohammad Mukhtar Musleh, head of the Afghanistan Islamic Movement and NUF member, warned Americans not to lose sight of the fact that their jihad had led to the disintegration of the former Soviet Union. America would meet a similar fate if it continued challenging the Afghan culture, he continued.
If the Afghan government did not take care of the national interest, they would step up their protests, he said.
A declaration issued at the end of the protest said the presence of foreign forces and their military bases in the country were illegal, tightening the noose around Muslims.
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