Afghanistan presses for answers on long-term U.S. military bases

Source: Reuters
Authors: Sanjeev Miglani and Hamid Shalizi

Afghanistan wants the United States to clearly spell out what sort of military presence it will leave behind once most of its combat troops leave by the end of 2014, a senior Afghan official said.

It is also pressing Washington in talks over future cooperation to detail to be more forthcoming on what will be on offer for Afghan forces as they ready to take over responsibility security in the country that is still at war.

“These are issues that concern us. We want to know how many bases will be there, how many soldiers and what will be their mission. And what will we get from the United States for our security forces,” President Hamid Karzai’s chief spokesman Aimal Faizi told Reuters, without specifying what levels he thought would be appropriate.

In negotiations for a Strategic Partnership Deal on long-term cooperation, one of the stumbling blocks is the U.S. plan for a limited military presence to ensure members of al Qaeda and other militant groups do not find a sanctuary again.

Countries such as Russia, China and Pakistan are wary of an indefinite U.S. military presence in the region. Neighboring Iran strongly opposes the plan.

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1 reply

  1. If the U.S. stays, naturally the concern is, will its intent stay confined to Afghanistan or will it seek to gain influence in the region through its bases? And of course, what will it mean for Afghans, to have a constant Western presence in their midst, a presence they have become increasingly wary and resentful of, as innocent Afghans continue to die at the hands of the U.S. military, whether in attacks gone wrong or soldiers gone mad.

    But if the U.S. should leave…what will its departure mean for Afghanistan and the region? Will it mean the resurgence of the Taliban? And what will that mean for Afghans, for Pakistanis and for the world at large? Different ideological sponsors are, it seems, providing funding for the perpetuation of their respective ideologies on the ground. Will U.S. aid in absence of U.S. military presence serve its purpose? Or will the U.S. military’s absence mean that extremist ideologies will acquire the upper hand?

    In the international political scheme, Afghanistan has become a mere proxy of war between nations and their competing values. And history proves that the players in any political game often lose sight of the collateral damage their tactics inflict upon the battleground upon which they engage. But the course of history has been altered with globalization. Fortunately or unfortunately, a proxy war is no longer confined to the land in which it is fought. 9/11 demonstrated this fact clearly. Wars should never have been and now most certainly should not be fought with the conviction that they will not reach our shores.

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