US hopes India will persuade ‘friend’ Karzai on troops stay post-2014
Washington – The United States has expressed hope India would persuade Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a deal allowing US troops to stay post-2014.
Testifying before a Senate committee, a senior US official said that he was confident Afghanistan would eventually complete an agreement for some 12,000 US troops to stay after 2014.
James Dobbins, the US special representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said that Karzai’s visit to India next week could be quite influential, because he highly respects and has good relations with the Indian government.
According to Dawn News, Dobbins said that all regional powers, except Iran, had encouraged Karzai to sign the accord.
The accord if approved by Afghanistan would authorise US troops to keep training Afghans after next year’s official withdrawal of forces.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin are among the leaders who have encouraged Karzai to sign the agreement, Dobbins said.
India, where Karzai studied, has enthusiastically supported the US military role and poured two billion dollars in reconstruction aid into Afghanistan.
Afghanistan’s former Taliban regime sheltered virulently anti-Indian militants and was allied with New Delhi’s historic rival Pakistan, the report added.