US `bowed` to Karzai’s ‘hot button demands`

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the agreement forbids the US from attacking other countries from the bases it may retain there.

Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai, explaining his signing of a strategic pact with the United States, said Washington has bowed to many of his demands.

Karzai said the Strategic Partnership Agreement, signed on Tuesday evening in Kabul, met several of Afghanistan’s tough conditions, and highlighted that it forbids the US from attacking other countries from the bases it may retain there after the bulk of foreign troops withdraw in 2014.

Karzai expressed gratitude for the decade of US and international assistance to Afghanistan. He also said he hoped the US Congress would back the agreement.

Karzai said the US yielded ground in negotiations on hot button issues such as the detention Afghan citizens and night raids by US special operations forces.

"Our fundamental conditions were that the US forces must not have the permission to run prisons...they must not be allowed to arrest Afghans, they must not be allowed to enter Afghan homes," the Wall Street Journal quoted Karzai, as saying. "These were our preconditions in order to enter into this strategic agreement," he added.
Karzai also highlighted the Afghan government`s desire to eventually disband military-led provincial reconstruction teams; organisations that Afghan officials say have undermined the effectiveness of local and provincial governments. He said the pact cemented Afghanistan’s stature as a fully sovereign state that could negotiate on equal terms with the US "Afghanistan is now a dignified country," he said.

"I call on you to come to Afghanistan, join the peace process and strengthen the nation of Afghanistan," he added.


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