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.
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.