Strategic pact with UK after Bonn Conference
KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan would sign a strategic cooperation pact with the United Kingdom after the 2nd Bonn Conference, slated for December 5 in Germany, a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai said on Monday.
Addressing a press conference here, Aimal Faizi said Kabul and London had been holding talks for the past seven month on the agreement, envisaging the creation of a military academy in Afghanistan and training of national security forces.
Other important features of the accord included Afghan officials' capacity building, good governance, economic cooperation and an improved financial regime, Faizi said, adding that Karzai would ink the agreement during his visit to Britain after the Bonn meeting.
Similar pacts aimed at long-term cooperation were being negotiated with the European Union, Australia and some other countries, the presidential spokesman said.
At a Cabinet meeting earlier in the day, Karzai directed the authorities concerned to arrange meetings with American officials on strategic partnership in light of the four-day Loya Jirga's recommendations.
The traditional gathering concluded on Saturday with the endorsement of the agreement. In a 76-article declaration, the delegates backed the creation of American bases in the country for a decade.
Signing the pact with the US was necessary for maintaining security and strengthening Afghanistan's economy, delegates at assembly said in the declaration, which underlined respect for the Afghan culture, traditions and religion.
The president also revealed areas for the second phase of security transition, but a formal announcement was delayed in line with a request from provincial governors, the spokesman explained. Paktika, Zabul, Jawzjan and Samangan governors briefed Karzai on security problems in their provinces.
He said that areas for the second phase of the security transfer from international forces to their Afghan counterparts would be announced at next week's Cabinet meeting.
The first phase of the transition process that started from central Bamyan province on July 17 has been completed in Panjsher, Kabul, excluding Sarobi district, Mehtarlam, Lashkargah, Herat City and Mazar-i-Sharif. The exercise is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.
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