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NATO Ready To Establish Afghan Bases, But Only After Pact Is Signed

Afghan President Hamid Karzai
A senior NATO official says the trans-Atlantic alliance is prepared to sign a long-term strategic pact with Afghanistan, but only after Kabul concludes a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Washington.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the NATO official told RFE/RL on December 2 that, under the proposed agreement, NATO would establish four bases in Afghanistan after most international forces leave at the end of 2014.

The topic is likely to be discussed at a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels starting on December 3.

The status of the BSA is up in the air after Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week demanded Washington help kick-start peace talks with the Taliban and stop U.S. military raids on Afghan homes before agreeing to sign the deal.

Washington wants Karzai to sign the agreement promptly.