Afghan President Urged to Sign Long-Term Partnership with US


0  Updated at 4:15 am, March 1st, 2012 By: ABC Digital
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SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images(KABUL, Afghanistan) — A long-term U.S. partnership agreement with Afghanistan could go a long way to reducing tensions brought on by last week’s Koran burning by American troops at Bagram Airfield.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has been pushing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to make a deal with the U.S. that would cover the period after the combined coalition withdraws its forces in 2014.

While the riots over the destroyed religious materials have seemed to calm down, the possibility that they could return still exists, especially with goading by the Taliban.

Signing the strategic partnership deal with the U.S. would help the situation, but Karzai wants certain guarantees.  Among them: respect for Afghan sovereignty, the cessation of night raids that Karzai argues have been a leading cause of civilian deaths and turning over Bagram prison to his government.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio