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Afghans to Decide on US Bases: Karzai

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TEHRAN, Feb 20 (ICANA) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai has confirmed Washington's plans to set up long-term military bases in Afghanistan in order for foreign troops to occupy the war-torn country beyond the 2014 deadline.
Sunday, February 20, 2011 9:13:14 AM

He stressed that the future of permanent US bases depends on the Afghans and the concerns of the neighboring countries. Karzai emphasized that the possibility of retaining these bases could only be discussed once peace has been achieved in Afghanistan and that permanent US bases would not be used as threats against other countries. Karzai also blamed foreign forces for what he called "arbitrary operations" and not heeding to the demands of the Afghan people. In one of the most recent of such operations, US forces detained a university professor in Kapisa province, north of the capital Kabul. Experts believe that military means and the presence of foreign forces are not the formula to solve Afghanistan's crisis and only add insult to injury and create more challenges, as civilian and military casualties have hit an all time high with more than 2400 civilians losing their lives in 2010. Karzai has said that any long-term partnership and decision about US bases would have to be discussed by parliament or loya jirga, the grand tribal council. Experts believe the US has failed to achieve its goals after 10 year of war in Afghanistan. Many parts of the country still remain insecure, and the new US strategy of establishing long-term military bases is only expected to raise anti-US sentiment among Afghans and neighboring countries.

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