Afghans want US troops to stay

AP/Arab News:

Most Afghans want a binding security pact with the United States that would keep American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely, a senior adviser to Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Wednesday.

Negotiations for such a pact have lagged in part because “some in the Afghan government are trying to sabotage it,” said Taj Ayubi, minister-counselor to Karzai.

Ayubi was not specific, but was apparently referring to factions within the weak central government with ties to Iran, or to a lesser extent, Pakistan or the Taleban insurgency. Iran opposes any US military presence in Afghanistan, and US and other officials say Iran is trying to use its growing influence in neighboring Afghanistan to lobby against a deal that would provide the US a long-term military perch.

The agreement, now in draft form, would give the US use of Afghan-run or jointly-run bases after 2014, when the formal combat role is set to end. Senior US officials have said its central function is to provide assurance to Afghans that the US will not shut the door on Afghanistan in 2014, while establishing terms for continued US counterterrorism, training and counter-narcotics operations.

US officials stress that US military presence will be at Afghanistan’s invitation.

This suggest the Afghans trust US forces to help defend them and not be an Occupier. The country has in the past strongly resisted having foreign forces, but they probably see a real threat from Iran and the Taliban and its allies in Pakistan. Whether they can persuade the Obama administration to stick around may be another question.


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