Afghan leader: U.S. can keep 9 bases past 2014
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013, 8:15 p.m.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has irked Washington with his frequent criticism of American military operations in his country, said on Thursday that his government is now ready to let the United States have nine bases across Afghanistan after most foreign troops withdraw in 2014.
A border spat with Pakistan and a desire to test public opinion led Karzai to break months of public silence on this issue, according to Afghan analysts. They said Karzai is concerned that Pakistan is using the Taliban to give it greater leverage and that he wants to find out if Afghans, tired of 12 years of war, will support that size of a U.S. military footprint.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said that the United States “does not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan.” The U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after 2014 would be “only at the request of the Afghan government,” Carney said.
Carney wouldn't say whether the United States was perhaps seeking a temporary presence on nine bases. An American defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that he had not heard the number nine mentioned.
But Karzai said that's how many bases the Americans requested.
“We are giving the bases, nine bases they want from Afghanistan — in all of Afghanistan,” he said.
Karzai said bases were requested in Kabul; Bagram Air Field, north of the capital; Mazar-e-Sharif in the north; Jalalabad and Gardez near the eastern border with Pakistan; Kandahar and Helmand provinces, which are Taliban strongholds in the south; and Shindand and Herat in western Afghanistan.
In return, Afghanistan wants a U.S. commitment to boost Afghan security, strengthen its armed forces and provide long-term economic development assistance.
“It is our condition that they bring security and bring it quickly and strengthen the Afghan forces and the economy,” he said. “When they (the Americans) do this, we are ready to sign” a partnership agreement.
President Obama has not yet announced how many troops he wants to keep in the country beyond 2014, but officials have said it may be in the range of 10,000.
About 66,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, down from a peak of about 100,000 in 2010.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Putin’s national address to Russians raises fears of possible incursion into southeastern Ukraine
- U.S. to release $450M for Iran
- Chaos prevailed on bridge as South Korean ferry listed, crewman says
- Afghan officials say detainment of Taliban commander thwarts peace process
- Expert witness for Pistorius blistered again
- Seabed data analyzed; oil discounted
- Russian military spending increases
- Journalists: Egypt trial a joke
- Putin hangs Ukraine gas debt on EU
- Detection of Malaysian jet signal in ocean up to 5
- Vienna Philharmonic to return Nazi-looted painting