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US troop stay in Afghanistan must ensure peace: Karzai

AT-KABUL: Ex-President Hamid Karzai stressed that longer presence of the US troops in Afghanistan should bring lasting peace to the country.

The US decided to keep 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through 2016 and 5,500 troops beyond for training and helping Afghan security forces.

A press statement released by former President Hamid Karzai’s office said the Afghans will accept longer presence of the US troops in Afghanistan only if their stay brings peace and security to the country. The statement quoted Karzai as saying: “The foreign troops should ensure that they will not undermine the national sovereignty of Afghanistan and respect the unity of Afghans.”

“Since 2001, Afghans have been tolerating foreign troop presence in the hope that they will weed terrorism out and brining lasting peace to the country, however, instead of taming terror, unfortunately terrorism surged to a new height,” the statement said.

Karzai added that signing of the bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the US was also of no use. “Unfortunately, the deal could not end the war, but insecurity has mounted,” he said.

Karzai said that the US president used the term fighting seasons, which is not commonly used and this term means that war in Afghanistan will gain length.

“It was made clear that the Taliban militants by wars in our cities and villages are paving the ground for presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan,” he added.

Hamid Karzai stressed that Afghans will approve the military presence of the America in Afghanistan only if the US ensures elimination of terrorism, end of war, restoration of peace, strengthening of national unity and respect to Afghanistan’s sovereignty, otherwise their presence will be of no use.

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