America and Afghanistan are close to signing a strategic pact which would allow thousands of United States troops to remain in the country until at least 2024, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. The agreement would allow not only military trainers to stay to build up the Afghan army and police, but also American special forces soldiers and air power to remain. . . .
. . .A withdrawal of American troops has already begun following an agreement to hand over security for the country to Kabul by the end of 2014. But Afghans wary of being abandoned are keen to lock America into a longer partnership after the deadline. Many analysts also believe the American military would like to retain a presence close to Pakistan, Iran and China.
George Washington would have used the term: “entangle” rather than “lock” to describe this agreement.
From listening the Afghan government spokesman, their attitude is that the US should be thankful that they are allowing the US to defend their country:
. . . “If [the Americans] provide us weapons and equipment, they need facilities to bring that equipment,” he said. “If they train our police and soldiers, then those trainers will not be 10 or 20, they will be thousands.
“We know we will be confronted with international terrorists. 2014, is not the end of international terrorist networks and we have a common commitment to fight them. For this purpose also, the US needs facilities.”
Afghan forces would still need support from US fighter aircraft and helicopters, he predicted. In the past, Washington officials have estimated a total of 25,000 troops may be needed.
Dr Spanta added: “In the Afghan proposal we are talking about 10 years from 2014, but this is under discussion.” America would not be granted its own bases, and would be a guest on Afghan bases, he said. Pakistan and Iran were also deeply opposed to the deal.