Where are the Predator Drones when we really need one? Karzai would be in the cross hairs if I had control of just one drone. Take our money, aid our enemies, help kill U.S. Troops and then make demands….. I think not!
KABUL, Afghanistan – Tribal leaders on Wednesday backed calls by Afghan President Hamid Karzai for close long-term ties to the United States as long as the relationship respects Afghan sovereignty.
Karzai’s remarks opened a four-day traditional meeting called a loya jirga where nearly 2,000 leaders from around the country have converged to discuss relations with the USA and possible reconciliation talks with an insurgency against Karzai’s elected government.
Though many Afghans still see international support as necessary to create lasting stability, the message of accepting help while remaining independent resonated with many in attendance.
“Today’s speech was exactly what we wanted to hear from Karzai. Afghanistan is not the same country it was 10 years ago,” said Haji Durgul, a tribal leader from Logar province. “If America wants to cooperate or have any deal with us it should be on our terms.”
U.S. forces have been in Afghanistan since 2001 when they and coalition troops ousted the Taliban regime after it refused to turn over Osama bin Laden, architect of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Since then NATO has been training Afghans to fight alongside its forces to tamp down a Taliban-led insurgency.
NATO has agreed to withdraw troops from the country by the end of 2014 as long as security conditions are satisfactory. There are about 100,000 U.S. troops in the country and Afghan and American officials have been working on an agreement to lay out what will happen after most forces leave.
Karzai said his government is also working on partnerships with France, Britain, Australia and the European Union. The Taliban has condemned the talks as an attempt by the United States to justify a permanent presence in Afghanistan.