Karzai links post-2014 US-NATO role to peace
KABUL (PAN): NATO on Friday said it will not proceed with training and support mission in Afghanistan past 2014 without an agreement with the Afghan government, but President Karzai links such an arrangement to establishing a lasting peace in the country.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference in Brussels the alliance’s post-2014 training and support mission will not proceed without an agreement defining the status of international troops.
“We are still in the planning phases, and I would expect more detailed decisions to be made later this year,” Rasmussen said, adding any involvement in Afghanistan after 2014 hinged on a status of forces agreement between Afghanistan and the alliance.
Also on Friday, Karzai told a delegation of religious leaders at his office that NATO and the US "should first establish peace in Afghanistan before an agreement on the presence of their troops after the planned withdrawal next year.
A statement issued from the Presidential Palace quoted Karzai as saying he in person had looked into a draft agreement sent by the US about its troops post-2014 role in Afghanistan. "We want the interests of Afghanistan to be considered in the agreement," Karzai told religious scholars.
"After the Jidad in Afghanistan had succeeded, its fruits were harvested by the West, but the Afghans were left alone to live down the misfortunes," Karzai recalled.
"We want to tell the US and the West that no nation and no neighbouring country can protect the presence and bases of foreigners in Afghanistan, but the Afghans," he went on to say.
Karzai said if the US wanted to establish its military bases in Afghanistan, the country would require to consider Afghanistan's interests and have to establish peace.
He said some patriot Taliban leaders continued to pass his government information on the threats to their families if they agreed to talks with the council.
In Brussels, Rasmussen, however, said he remained optimistic for an agreement with Afghanistan and that the US-Afghan strategic partnership pact would serve as a guideline for a broader status of forces agreement between NATO and Afghanistan.
Among other things, the agreements would define the legal status of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and protect those forces from prosecution in Afghan courts. Without those agreements, Rasmussen said, “it will be impossible for allies and partners to deploy troops and trainers to Afghanistan.”
That session precedes a meeting of the NATO-Russia council, where Rasmussen said he expects to talk North Korea and European missile defense with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
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