Karzai: Afghans Want Permanent U.S. Presence

U.S. Army 2Lt. Theodore Kim (L), speaks with Afghan tribal elder Haji Malik Sarane at district government center on August 30, 2011, in Achin, Afghanistan. (Getty Images)
QUANTICO, Virgina - Most Afghans want a binding security pact with the United States that would keep American troops in Afghanistan indefinitely, a senior adviser to Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Wednesday.

Negotiations for such a pact have lagged in part because "some in the Afghan government are trying to sabotage it," said Taj Ayubi, minister-counselor to Karzai.

Ayubi was not specific, but was apparently referring to factions within the weak central government with ties to Iran, or to a lesser extent, Pakistan or the Taliban insurgency. Iran opposes any U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, and U.S. and other officials say Iran is trying to use its growing influence in neighboring Afghanistan to lobby against a deal that would provide the U.S. a long-term military perch.
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