World Bulletin/News Desk
President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai on Thursday said the US wanted to keep nine military bases in the country.
During a speech at Kabul University, Karzai said that the US planned to keep its nine bases even after NATO withdraws its soldiers in 2014.
Stating that they favoured the demand of the US, Karzai added that Afghanistan also had its demands and interests in the negotiations.
The Afghan president said that their conditions were the US to strengthen Afghanistan's security forces and provide concrete support to the economy and added that Afghanistan would be ready to sign a security pact if such conditions were met.
On May 4, after signing a bilateral security agreement, Karzai announced his decision to allow US forces to remain inside Afghanistan beyond the 2014 withdrawal deadline.
The cities the US wants to keep its bases include the capital Kabul, Kandahar and Herat.
We don't recognize the Durand Line
Also touching on the recent clashes at the borderline between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Karzai said, "Threats and attacks are useless. Afghanistan has never recognized the Durand Line in the past, it doesn't today and will not in the future.
Karzai had previously ordered the destruction of the safe crossings established by Pakistan along the border line.
Durand Line, the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan has long been one of the most dangerous places in the world, due largely to very little government control.
Afghan border police, enraged by recent clashes with their Pakistani counterparts, are pleading for more weapons to take on their neighbours, escalating the tension between the two sides.
The fighting, in which an Afghan border policeman was killed last week, has caused a sharp deterioration in relations between the important U.S. allies, coming days before the Pakistani general election.
The commander of border police in Goshta district in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, Bakht Jamal Eshaaqzai, said his 250-strong forces were armed with mortars and machine guns, but that it would be difficult to match Pakistan's heavy artillery and tanks, visible on the other side of the border.
Eshaaqzai says Pakistan had 12 manned outposts in Goshta, while Afghanistan had three.
"We are under threat from their superior equipment. We urge the government to send us more as soon as possible," he told reporters and members of Kabul-based think tank Afghan Analysis Awareness, who drove from the capital to Goshta on Wednesday.
Shahzada, who only goes by one name, is one of hundreds of border police who have taken up positions over the last two days in Goshta.
"We have high morale, but what we really need is heavy artillery," he said. Sporting a long beard and resting his hand on a machine gun, he added: "We're ready to eliminate our enemies."
Pakistan artillery has destroyed several Afghan outposts over the last week in Goshta, where the remains of sandbag and concrete forts stand crumbling under the baking sun.
The cross-border clashes on Monday and last week sparked large protests across Afghanistan, drawing thousands of men to the centre of the capital, Kabul, where they chanted "Death to Pakistan".
Pakistan says that both clashes were the result of unprovoked action by Afghan forces.
Afghanistan and Pakistan have had testy relations since Pakistan was formed in 1947, at the end of British colonial rule over India. Afghanistan has never officially accepted the border between them, known as the Durand Line.
Afghanistan says Pakistan is encroaching on its territory. Last week, Afghan police partially destroyed a Pakistani-built gate which is located around 750 metres (820 yards) from the Afghan police outpost.
Pakistan counters that fortifications built in recent years are for better management and are on its side of the border.
Last Mod: 09 Mayıs 2013, 16:51