Karzai lays out terms for U.S. security deal

May 9, 2013 at 9:32 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan, May 9 (UPI) -- The Afghan government has demands that need to be addressed before it reaches a security deal with the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said.

Karzai said during the 80th anniversary of Kabul University that U.S. military forces can keep bases in the country once a bilateral security deal is signed.

International forces are expected to leave Afghanistan next year after more than 10 years of engagement. Karzai said the first condition for a bilateral agreement was peace for Afghanistan.

"The U.S. is seeking its own benefit before the inking of the agreement but Afghanistan is also seeking its benefit," he was quoted by China's Xinhua News Agency as saying.

"Afghan forces must be strengthened. They must be equipped and strong. The Afghanistan economy must be upheld and strong. Afghanistan must have a strong government."

International forces say Afghan forces are taking over some areas of responsibility. Some members of the coalition have expressed concern about how well Afghan forces are trained, however.

Karzai said the United States wants to establish nine military bases. He wants assurances that his government will get help in rebuilding national infrastructure, however.

Negotiations over a bilateral deal began last year.

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