Afghanistan ready to allow U.S. bases after 2014 pullout

May 9, 2013 at 1:21 PM
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KABUL, Afghanistan, May 9 (UPI) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Thursday he won't allow the United States to retain military bases in his country without receiving concessions.

The two governments are attempting to hammer out a deal that would allow the United States to keep a limited troop presence in Afghanistan after more than 11 years of war, Khaama Press said.

Washington officials have requested to keep nine military bases to help train the local army and target al-Qaida, Khaama Press reported.

White House spokesman Jay Carney later told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Texas the United States wants nine bases in Afghanistan following the pullout.

"As the president has already made clear the United States does not seek permanent military bases in Afghanistan and any U.S. presence after 2014 would only be at the invitation of the Afghan government and aimed at training Afghan forces and targeting the remnants of al-Qaida," Carney said, adding the bilateral security agreement currently being negotiated would deal with the bases issue.

Karzai said during a speech although Afghanistan is ready to sign an agreement, it would need to include economic guarantees.

"When they do this, we are ready to sign," he said.

The size of the force has also is in question, with possibilities ranging from 2,500 to 12,000 troops, Khaama Press reported.

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