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Afghan soil won't be used by terrorists, says Karzai

January 11, 2013 03:32 IST

Visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday assured the United States that with a strong security force, Afghanistan would not be threatened by terrorists from across its borders post-2014 when the America-led international force withdraws from the war-torn country.

On a three-day official visit to the country, Karzai, ahead of his talks with US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta, hoped that the two countries would be able to work on the modalities of the bilateral security agreement, which is currently being negotiated between the two countries.

"I can assure you, Mr Secretary (Panetta)...with the help that you'll provide....Afghanistan will be able to provide security to its people and to protect its borders so Afghanistan will not ever again be threatened by terrorists from across our borders," Karzai told the defence secretary in his opening remarks ahead of the meeting between the two leaders.

"I'm sure during this trip, Afghanistan and the US will work out the modality for bilateral security limit that will ensure the interests of the state of Afghanistan and also the interests of the United States," Karzai said.

BSA would determine the troop structure and nature of US presence in Afghanistan post-2014 after the withdrawal of the US-led international forces from the country.

Karzai said the final tranche of security transition would be announced mid-2013.

Afghanistan will be taking over responsibility for its own security, he said.

Welcoming Karzai to the Pentagon, Panetta said that next year in Afghanistan will be a very important one as they continue to transition security responsibility to the Afghan forces, and this coming year they will complete that transition with tranche five.

"I want to commend you on the bravery and the skill of your forces. They are demonstrating, alongside the US and coalition forces, every day the bravery, the courage and the capability to provide the security you need in order to ensure a safe future for your nation," Panetta said.

"After a long and difficult path, we finally are, I believe, at the last chapter of establishing in Afghanistan a sovereign Afghanistan that can govern and secure itself for the future," Panetta said.

Image: Karzai sits with Panetta for their meeting at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, on Thursday

Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

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