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Karzai: US troops can have immunity in exchange for sovereignty

Kabul -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday said he was willing to consider giving immunity to US troops in a security deal to be signed next year if his demands concerning "Afghanistan's sovereignty" were respected.

The bilateral agreement is to outline the form a US military presence in Afghanistan will take, including a certain number of troops and bases, after NATO combat troops pull out in 2014.

Karzai said his key demands were that the US handover all detainees in its custody and shut all its prisons in Afghanistan, handover control of Afghan airspace, and stop military raids on Afghan villages.

“Within those conditions, and once those conditions are fulfilled by the United States with us, Afghanistan is willing to consider immunity for them and I, as the president of Afghanistan, am willing to go to the Afghan people and put that case forward and try to argue for it,” he added.

“But, before I will do that, I must make sure that the United States of America respects Afghan sovereignty.”

The US still has more than 65,000 soldiers in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban. It is not yet clear how many will remain after 2014.

The US wants to have a status-of-force agreement included in the security deal, which will specify when US soldiers can be prosecuted in Afghanistan for violating Afghan law.
 
 

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