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Karzai, Cameron pledge stable Afghanistan

Karzai, Cameron pledge stable Afghanistan

Jan 28, 2012 - 19:31

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon):  President Hamid Karzai and British Prime Minister David Cameron on Saturday signed a strategic agreement on Afghanistaninfo-icon’s future in London on Saturday, an official said.

The visiting leader hailed as "another step" in the UK’s commitment to his country the pact on bilateral cooperation after British combat troops’ pullout from Afghanistan in 2014, when the security responsibility would transition to forces.

Britain had been Afghanistan's steadfast friend, more so over the past decade, Karzai was quoted as saying by his spokesman. He acknowledged Britain’s sacrifice in "blood and treasure", according to Aimal Faizi.

Speaking to Pajhwok Afghan News over the telephone from Britain, Faizai said Karzai and Cameron had agreed on working together to stabilise Afghanistan and strengthen key state institutions.

British combat forces numbering 9,500 would stay in Afghanistan well into 2014, when all foreign soldiers are scheduled to leave, Cameron promised, calling the London-Kabul relationship strong and cooperative.

NATOinfo-icon nations and their partners would be coordinating the withdrawal of soldiers from Afghanistan in 2014, Cameron said, adding the British-Afghan ties would be based on diplomacy, trade and aid.

Under the agreement, Afghanistan and the UK would continue mutual cooperation in security, political, economic and other sectors, Faizi said. Britain will establish a military training academy in Afghanistan, whose trainees will be sent to London.

During his visit to European countries, Karzai has already signed long-term strategic partnership agreements with Italy and France.The president would fly back home on Saturday night after signing the pact in London, Faizi said.

Scheduled to visit London last month, Karzai had to postpone his trip in the wake of deadly sectarian bomb attacks in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif.

"Based on that long-term relationship, we hope to provide a strong, democratic state and a more secure region," Karzai said, praising the British prime minister as a longtime friend of his country.



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