Karzai briefs Senate on security pact

April 11, 2013 at 8:45 AM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, April 11 (UPI) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Afghanistan's national interests must come first if there is to be a U.S. military presence after combat troops withdraw.

Karzai spokesman Adela Raz said the president briefed Afghan lawmakers on his meeting with U.S. officials concerning the security agreement between the two countries, Khaama Press reported Thursday.

Coalition combat forces are to be completely withdrawn from Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

"Important national issues were discussed during the meeting including [the] security pact between Kabul and Washington," Raz said. "It was recalled during the meeting that the Afghan government was following talks over [the] security agreement very precisely and the pact will [be] signed with Washington only if the national interest of Afghanistan is completely considered."

Raz said Karzai stressed Afghanistan would sign the security agreement only if the United States is committed to supporting Afghanistan without conditions.

Karzai said the Afghan government was committed to pursuing peace talks with the militant groups, Khaama Press said.

During the meeting, lawmakers called for election reforms and urged an expert be hired for the country's election commission. A presidential election is scheduled for April 2014 as NATO troops prepare to withdraw by year's end.

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