Hundreds of Afghans rally against US pact

US Ambassador to Kabul insists that permanent military bases do not figure in plans for a future US-Afghan partnership.

Kabul: Hundreds of Afghans took to the
streets in Kabul on Monday, shouting "death to America" in an
angry protest urging the government not to sign a strategic
partnership with the United States.

The demonstrators, many wearing turbans and carrying
placards, took to the streets in the western part of the city,
chanting anti-US slogans and carrying banners demanding that
all 130,000 foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

"We are here to say no to the strategic partnership with
the US and the establishment of foreign military bases in
Afghanistan," one protester, Waheedullah, said.

"The strategic partnership has no sharia (Islamic law) or
legal basis, we don`t want that."

US Ambassador to Kabul, Ryan Crocker, has insisted that
permanent military bases do not figure in plans for a future
US-Afghanistan partnership, but fears remain among many
Afghans over details of the fine print.

Holding pictures of Afghan civilian casualties allegedly
caused by foreign troop operations, the demonstrators chanted:
"Death to America", "Death to NATO" and "Allowing military
bases is treachery".

US President Barack Obama has announced that he will pull
10,000 US troops from Afghanistan this year as part of a
gradual withdrawal of combat forces scheduled to be completed
in 2014.

A grand assembly has been planned next month to discuss
the partnership agreement under negotiation with the United
States, which will outline the two countries` relationship
after troops leave.


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