Jirga can't decide on strategic pact: US
A day earlier, France handed a draft of long-term partnership to the Afghan government, and the deal is expected to be signed ahead of the December 5 Bonn conference.
Deputy US Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham told a press conference in Kabul the Loya Jirga had no right to make a decision on the strategic agreement and it would only give advice to the Afghan government on the issue.
He said there was no mention of permanent US military bases in the draft agreement. "Our aims are clear; we want them to be reflected in all agreements. There is no threat that may worry Afghanistan's neighbours," he added.
Cunningham said the US wanted to assist the people of Afghanistan until they stood on their own feet. He suggested there had been some breakthrough at talks on the long-term deal, which needed lengthy discussions.
He said it was beyond his knowledge when the agreement would be singed, but insisted it was in the interest of the two countries.
With reference to the Istanbul Conference, Cunningham said the event reflected the international community's commitment of continued assistance to Afghanistan. It would help address doubts about Afghanistan, he believed.
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