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Karzai urges Afghan terms for US ties

Posted by seumasach on July 27, 2011

PressTV

27rth July, 2011

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he will not sign a strategic partnership deal with the United States if the conditions set out by his country are not met.

Karzai made the remark on Tuesday, saying Washington must accept all of his conditions for a strategic partnership agreement, including an end to night raids and other military operations by US-led forces in the strife-torn country.

Addressing a gathering in the capital Kabul, the Afghan leader pointed out that the US-led troops need to work within Afghan legal rules and not take prisoners for their crimes in Afghanistan.

On concerns about a long-term US presence in Afghanistan, Karzai called on Afghan forces to make an attempt to take control of security from foreign forces.

“The good news will come when we, Afghans, are protecting our own homeland,” he said. “It will happen only with hard work and sacrifice, especially from our Afghan forces.”

“There are many other conditions on the economy and sovereignty and all other aspects…and about respect to the Afghan constitution,” Karzai went on to say.

He gave no details on how the demands would shape negotiations as he addressed heads of the army, police and intelligence services in a speech marking the end of the first phase of security transitions from foreign to local forces’ control.

Karzai has long been critical of unilateral US-led attacks in his country that usually lead to the death of Afghan civilians. The attacks have outraged Afghan people and officials.

The US-led NATO forces have defended the night raids as indispensable.

Karzai’s comments came hours after the US-led forces bombed the eastern province of Kunar, where another US-led aerial attack in March left nine young children dead.

The Monday air raid left at least three afghan civilians killed.

In early March, a US-led air strike claimed the lives of nine children, aged between seven and nine, in Darah-Ye Pech district in Kunar province while they were collecting firewood.

Following the March incident, the top American commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, issued a statement claiming that Washington was “deeply sorry” for the airstrike and that “these deaths should never have happened.”

Hundreds of civilians have been killed in the US-led airstrikes and ground operations in various parts of Afghanistan over the past few months, with Afghans becoming increasingly outraged over the seemingly endless number of deadly assaults.

Civilian casualties have long been a source of friction between the Afghan government and US-led foreign forces. The loss of civilian lives at the hands of foreign forces has drastically raised anti-American sentiments in Afghanistan.

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