Wednesday, June 15, 2011

'US to stay in Afghanistan for decades'

US-led troops in Afghanistan, file photo

Source: Press TV

A new report has revealed that secret talks between American and Afghan officials could see foreign troops remain in Afghanistan for several decades.

In a report published Monday, The Guardian, quoted US and NATO sources, as saying that secret negotiations have reportedly been underway for more than a month.

American negotiators will be in Kabul for a new round of talks later this month.

The talks are aimed at securing a strategic partnership agreement that includes US presence in Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal deadline.

According to the report, any such agreement is likely to see American troops, spies and air power stay in the country for decades.

Meanwhile, senior NATO officials have also predicted that their troops will remain in Afghanistan far beyond 2014.

However, Russia, China and India have voiced concern over any such 'strategic partnership' deal that would prolong US presence in the region.

The report comes days after and Washington exchanged proposals on possible US presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

"Our proposal had gone to the US government in response to their proposal. A delegation will come from the United States to discuss this and that will determine the nature of US presence in Afghanistan (after 2014)," Karzai said during an official visit to the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, on Saturday.

Senior US and NATO officials have signaled that foreign troops will remain in the country beyond 2014.

This is while US President Barack Obama had pledged a major drawdown from Afghanistan by July 2011.

Experts have described the new contradictory transition dates as a devastating truth for Americans.

Washington says the transition does not mean that Afghan forces will be in charge everywhere. Obama has promised to keep American forces in Afghanistan even after other Western countries withdraw their troops.

According to official figures, over 2,500 US-led soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the US-led invasion began in 2001.

Thousands of Afghans have so far been killed during ground and aerial operations by foreign troops.

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