U.S. Commits to Ensure Afghanistan Security for 10 Yearsإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The United States has committed to ensuring Afghanistan's security for at least 10 years after most of its troops pull out in 2014, the Afghan deputy foreign minister said Tuesday.
"That is a very important aspect of this relationship," Jawed Ludin said in response to a question about U.S. military commitment in a draft strategic partnership pact agreed on Sunday.
But the agreement should not be seen by neighboring countries as a threat to their own security and would be "a force for good for the whole region", Ludin told a group of foreign journalists.
"We have made it very clear in this document that this can't be used against a third country and this will not affect the security of Afghanistan's neighbors," he said.
The full text of the document, which still has to be signed by U.S. President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai, has not been released and a U.S. embassy spokesman said Tuesday details would not be discussed before it was final.
Afghanistan holds a strategic position in the region, neighboring Iran, Pakistan and China as well as three former Soviet states, and Ludin said it wanted to build relations throughout the region.
"We would like to show to this neighborhood that Afghanistan is a positive -- and can be an even more positive -- force for peace and stability in this region and they should see (the pact) as such," he said.
"That's our vision, but the nation has had bad experiences -- we need guarantees, we need to be able to be strong at the same time."
The problems and challenges in the region, including terrorism, would continue to be present and the pact with the U.S. was the surest way of ensuring Afghanistan's security, he said.
NATO has some 130,000 U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan helping Karzai's government fight a decade-long insurgency by hardline Taliban Islamists who were toppled from power in a 2001 invasion after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.
But they are due to pull out by the end of 2014, and the pact does not cover the crucial issue of the number or status of any U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan.
That is due to be dealt with in a separate status of forces agreement expected to be signed within a year, Ludin said, adding that it was likely to be the subject of "complex" negotiations.
In Iraq, Washington pulled out all its troops, leaving no residual force, after failing to get Baghdad to grant its soldiers immunity from prosecution in local courts.