Rows threaten post-2014 US-Afghan agreement

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KABUL: A planned deal to let United States (US) forces stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to fight al-Qaeda remnants is under threat because of disagreement over the Americans’ right to conduct military operations, Kabul says.

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President Hamid Karzai is now directly leading the talks after they ground to a halt despite US pressure to complete the security agreement by the end of this month, said Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi.

The US plans to pull out the bulk of its 57,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but it has tentative plans to retain some bases and a smaller force of around 10,000 after that.

“The US wants the freedom to conduct military operations, night raids and house searches,” Faizi told reporters on Tuesday.

“According to them, there are 75 al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, which is very strange as this agreement will be for 10 years to have the right to conduct military operations anywhere in the country.

“Unilaterally having the right to conduct military operations is in no way acceptable for Afghans.”

AFP

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