Afghanistan Seeking Long Term U.S. Protection

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said this morning that he wants a long term U.S. presence in his country, although he stopped short of calling for permanent bases.

Afghanistan to Request Long-Term U.S. Protection (Reuters)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Wednesday he planned to ask President Bush for long-term security protection for Afghanistan. But in a joint news conference in Kabul, both he and visiting Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld sidestepped questions as to whether this would involve permanent U.S. bases.

Asked if permanent U.S. bases were planned, Karzai said the Afghan people wanted “a longer-term relationship with the United States” after 30 years of war and upheaval.
“They want this relationship to be a wholesome one, including a sustained economic relationship, a political relationship and, most important of all, a strategic security relationship that would enable Afghanistan to defend itself,” he said. “I have already raised it with President Bush in Washington on my previous trips. And Afghanistan is requesting, seeking, such a partnership, yes,” he said. “A request in this regard will be sent to President Bush.”

Given Afghanistan’s strategic location and the long history of religious strife, I’d say U.S. basing there makes good sense for both countries.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. McGehee says:

    Would this be the first time in Afghanistan’s history that they actually welcomed foreign troops on their soil?

  2. James Joyner says:

    Well, the Soviets always maintained that they were invited in 1979….

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    The prospect of long-term U. S. military presence on its border is one of the several things motivating Chinese military build-up and modernization. I don’t think that China is an automatic military rival with the U. S. but a major U. S. military presence on their borders makes that more likely.

  4. Steve says:

    Read this:
    The Supreme Leader said that the Afghan nation is strongly committed to Islam and independence and do not like foreign occupation….
    “The Americans believe that they have got a foothold in Afghanistan, but, the Afghan nation is absolutely seeking national sovereignty,” the Supreme Leader said. Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to the foreign conspiracy to create border dispute between Iran and Afghanistan and said the Iranian and Afghan governments should exercise vigilance to foil such a conspiracy.

    It sounds like the Afghan leaders are practicing double speak again.

  5. McGehee says:

    Well, the Soviets always maintained that they were invited in 1979….

    It’s the welcome after the fact that matters.

  6. McGehee says:

    Steve, some wacko Iranian can say anything he likes about “the Afghan nation.” Doesn’t make it true.

  7. Steve says:

    But… this was during a press converence with the Afghan president. I found this story on the Islamic Republic News Agency website, http://www.irna.ir and the link is no longer good. The story was about the visit of the Afghan president and the quote was from a joint news conference with him.
    If the president didn’t agree, he should have made note of it during the press conference, which he didn’t.