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Spanta hints at US bases in Afghanistan

Spanta hints at US bases in Afghanistan

Sep 13, 2011 - 18:51

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): The United States may set up military bases in Afghanistaninfo-icon after the signing of a strategic cooperation agreement, President Hamid Karzai's national security advisor said on Tuesday.

Testifying before senators, Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, who recently returned from a visit to the US, said the strategic pact would not be inked, unless approved by Parliament and endorsed by the president.

Senior US officials evinced no interest in having permanent bases in Afghanistan during the three meetings he held with them, Spanta said. But to train and assist Afghan forces, Americans might establish military centres in the country, he indicated.

Afghan forces were unable to defend themselves without foreign support, the advisor believed. "We need international assistance for our national sovereignty and territorial integrity," he told the upper house, also called Meshrano Jirgainfo-icon.

US troops would be responsible only for training Afghan forces, military assistance, eliminating Al Qaeda, he said, adding they would not be conducting nighttime raids and detaining civilians.

Night raids and US-controlled jails posed a key hurdle to the agreement, Spanta pointed out. "Our objective is to establish a government based on rule of law and will not allow anyone to have a parallel set-up."

Regional countries meddling in Afghanistan were responsible for the current crisis, the advisor said without naming anyone. Afghanistan could not come out of the crisis without foreign support, he maintained.

"Concerns of our neighbours (about the pact) are genuine, but we will not allow our soil to be used against them," Spanta promised. However, he stressed neighbours reserved no right to interfere in Afghanistan's internal affairs.

Efforts were being made to prevent neighbours from exporting suicide bombers to Afghanistan, he continued.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dr. Zalmai Rasul, also present in the session, said:"National sovereignty is an essential issue and, therefore, the Afghan government and people are insisting on legalising foreign troops' presence." 



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