US eyes longer presence in Afghanistan

A senior American diplomat says the United States is hopeful of striking a deal with the Afghan government over the US troopsâ„¢ presence in the war-ravaged country beyond the 2014 deadline.

Addressing the Senate, James Dobbins, the State Departmentâ„¢s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan said such a deal would allow a large number of American troops to stay in Afghanistan.

He gave an upbeat assessment of the ongoing negotiations between US and Afghan officials, saying the Obama administration is committed to a long-term strategic partnership with the Afghans.

Washington had promised to withdraw all combat forces from Afghanistan by 2014. However, it has been locked in tricky negotiations with Kabul over a strategic partnership beyond 2014.

In May, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his government was ready to let the US set up nine bases across Afghanistan after most foreign troops withdraw in 2014.

Many Afghans believe that the US is envisaging permanent military bases there.

Afghan political groups have warned that things will get worse should the US set up permanent military bases in Afghanistan.

Afghan political figures have also heaped scorn on the US-led forces for committing unforgivable crimes against Afghan women and children since invading the country in 2001.

Thousands of Afghan civilians, including a large number women and children, have been killed during night raids by foreign forces and CIA-run assassination drone strikes.

The increasing number of casualties in Afghanistan has caused widespread anger against the US and other NATO member states, undermining public support for the Afghan war.

JR/ KA

Republished with permission from: Press TV