Kabul will pay heavy price for US military bases: Afghan official
Afghan President Hamid Karzai's chief of staff says Kabul will have to pay a heavy price for giving military bases to the United States.
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Abdul Karim Khoram said during a recent interview with local media that Kabul would earn the enmity of regional countries by allowing the US to maintain permanent bases in Afghanistan, Xinhua reported on Saturday.
He stated that Kabul would sign the Bilateral Security Agreement on condition that Washington ensures security in Afghanistan.
“Since Afghanistan would pay high price for giving military bases to the US, the country has its conditions before inking the security pact and one of the conditions is ensuring durable peace and security in our country,” Khoram said.
Since the security pact has not been finalized, he said, no date has been set for the country's highest decision-making body, the Loya Jirga, to discuss the issue on a national level. The body is highly critical of the pact.
The US is pushing hard for the deal which would give its forces legal immunity in Afghanistan.
However, talks between the US and Afghanistan on judicial immunity for American troops beyond 2014 remain deadlocked.
Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between the Afghan government and US-led foreign forces and have dramatically increased anti-US sentiments in Afghanistan.
The US and its allies entered the war in Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban from power, but after more than 11 years, the foreign troops have still not been able to establish security in the country.