Tuesday, 24 April 2012

US plans post-2014 stay in Afghanistan

As anti-American sentiment is growing among Afghans, the US and Afghanistan government have agreed on a draft for a strategic partnership deal.

The accord, which has not been made public, outlines the US role in the country for a decade after 2014, when most foreign combat forces are expected to leave.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Habib Hakimi, political analyst, to further discuss the issue.

The following is a transcription of the interview.

Press TV: After nearly a year of negotiations, the US and Afghanistan say they have finalized their “Strategic Partnership Agreement.” What role do you think the US seeks to have in your country beyond the end of 2014, and through 2024?

Hakimi: I think the United States will need to have military bases in Afghanistan after 2014 because the Taliban are still strong in Afghanistan, and they are fighting against the government in Afghanistan. NATO forces in Afghanistan, politically and militarily, are not stable.

On the other hand, Afghanistan faces many challenges from abroad. Afghanistan’s geopolitical position requires it to be strong enough to confront other dangers coming from abroad. Because of this, I think the government of Afghanistan, Afghan security forces will not be strong enough to fight against the Taliban insurgence after 2014 [and beyond].

At the same time, Afghanistan needs financial support from Western countries - from the United States. The United States will pay, according to this agreement, [one billion dollars] to Afghanistan, annually, and support the Afghan army and Afghan security forces. Because of this, I think the government of Afghanistan is in need to have this business in Afghanistan more than the United States.

Press TV: The document has not been released to the public, but one of the issues that should have been included is the issue of night raids. But, US officials have already conceded that they don’t really intend to abide by any new agreement? What do you think?

Hakimi: I think it will be reviewed by the parliament in Afghanistan and by the Congress of the United States. Personally, I think it is very difficult for the United States to put the forces under the command of Afghan security forces particularly in night raids.

I don’t think that the Afghan security forces are able to conduct these kinds of operations against the Taliban insurgence in Afghanistan. They will review the agreement and they will reach a new agreement with the government of Afghanistan to solve this problem because it will be a big danger for American forces to be under the command of Afghan forces in these kinds of operations.

Now that the United States agreed with the government of Afghanistan, the night raids should be conducted by the Afghan security forces but I think it will be reviewed in the future.

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