Iran critical of US-Afghan pact

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AP

Afghan soldiers pictured during a training exercise. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq, File)

Tehran - Iran voiced criticism Tuesday of a proposed pact that would pave the way for a US troop presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014, saying it would not serve its neighbour's interests.

“Iran does not see the signing and ratifying of this security pact to be beneficial for the long-term interests of the people and government of Afghanistan,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said.

If ratified, the deal would have a “negative impact on regional developments,” she said.

“We hope the final decision in Afghanistan will be in line with the long-term interests of the Afghan nation.”

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been locked in a bitter public dispute with Washington over the much-delayed security pact, which would allow some US soldiers to stay on after NATO's combat mission ends next year.

Karzai last week refused to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), even though a Loya Jirga assembly of tribal leaders that he had convened voted for him to do so.

The president, who stands down ahead of elections in April, accused Washington on Sunday of halting essential supplies to some army and police units in an effort to force him to sign.

NATO officials said they hoped Karzai would come on board, with the BSA essential for laying down the legal framework for a post-2014 troop presence.

A similar BSA deal with Iraq collapsed in 2011 leading to a complete US troop pullout and an upsurge in sectarian violence.

AFP


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