US did seek bases in talks on BSA: Faizi
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai's chief spokesman on Tuesday rejected as wrong recent remarks by a US embassy official in Kabul that Washington had not requested nine military bases in Afghanistan after the formal withdrawal of foreign combat troops by the end of 2014.
Karzai last week said Afghanistan was ready to let the United States and its allies keep military bases after the end of the NATO combat mission next year.
The president told university students on Thursday the US wanted bases in Kabul, Bagram Airfield, Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad and Gardez near the eastern border with Pakistan; Kandahar, Helmand and Herat provinces.
But Hugo Llorens, assistant chief of mission at the US Embassy in Kabul, said they had zero interest in having permanent military bases or facilities in Afghanistan. What we’re negotiating in the Bilateral Security Agreement is to give US military forces, it provides the operational rules.”
After 2014, he added, the primary role of the US military would be an advisory role because “our combat role will end at the end of 2014 as established in Lisbon and reaffirmed in the Chicago Conference last year.”
Llorens explained it would be more of a training and advisory role. “And it will be very much about having access to Afghan facilities to be able to do that work.”
Aimal Faizi, Karzai's chief spokesman, told Pajhwok Afghan News the president's remarks were based on America's latest demand during talks with Afghan officials on the proposed Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA).
"US officials have not only clearly sought nine military bases during latest round of talks on the bilateral security agreement, but they also identified places where they want them," he insisted.
He said it was the president's responsibility to share matters of national importance with the people of the country.
"Gone are the days when foreign powers and countries would put pressure on Afghanistan to accept their demands and conditions with or without the consent of the people. Now we are a democracy and every issue of national importance and sovereignty is discussed with the nation," Faizi remarked.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.