May 3 - Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the strategic partnership with the U.S. promises an end military raids by foreign forces. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
After signing a landmark strategic partnership deal with the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai defended the pact, focusing on what it will mean for military raids on citizens. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHANISTAN PRESIDENT, HAMID KARZAI, SAYING: "Afghanistan must be secure from military raids on homes and villages conducted in the name of fighting against terrorism. This is why we signed this agreement (U.S.-Afghan strategic pact), so that we may achieve our wishes, which, by the grace of God, we have," Earlier in the week, U.S. President Barack Obama and Karzai signed the partnership accord that charts the future of U.S.-Afghan relations beyond the end of the NATO combat mission in the country. Obama, on an unannounced visit to Kabul, acknowledged that there will be difficult days ahead for Afghanistan, but said the Afghan people were taking control of their own future. Karzai is now calling on Afghan's to embrace peace. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHANISTAN PRESIDENT, HAMID KARZAI, SAYING: "Those who are Afghans, who are our countrymen, who are not under the influence of outside intelligence and are not linked with the enemies of Afghanistan, we welcome them. To those who are linked, I urge, love your homeland, cease serving foreigners and return to your soil." The agreement signed by the two countries does not specify whether a reduced number of U.S. troops will remain after NATO's 2014 withdrawal deadline. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.