(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Fearful that most financial support will dry up once the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai is seeking a promise of $2 billion annually from Washington as part of the strategic partnership agreement the two countries are presently putting together.
The funds, if approved by Congress, would start after the scheduled military pullout in 2014 and be used to bolster Afghan security forces.
While the U.S. would not object to providing billions to support the recruitment and training of Afghanistan’s army and police, putting an actual dollar figure on an aid package might turn off lawmakers and the American public that would like to see a clean ending to the war that began in October 2001.
In the short term, this new demand by Karzai could further complicate the goal to finish the strategic partnership agreement by the time he and President Obama meet next month in Chicago for a NATO summit.
Karzai’s latest condition comes from a position of strength since relations with Washington have been severely strained by various incidents this year, including the deaths of 17 civilians allegedly at the hands of an U.S. Army sergeant and the burning of Qurans at Bagram Air Field, which enraged the Afghan population.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN