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US TROOP DEAL

Karzai warns against ‘intimidation’

Agence France-Presse . New Delhi

The prime minister, Manmohan Singh, with Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai during a meeting in New Delhi on Friday. — AP Photo  The prime minister, Manmohan Singh, with Afghanistan's president Hamid Karzai during a meeting in New Delhi on Friday. — AP Photo

Afghanistan will not be bullied into signing a security pact allowing US troops to stay on after next year, the president Hamid Karzai said as he pressed India on Friday for more military hardware.
Karzai met the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and the foreign minister, Salman Khurshid, at the start of a three-day visit, with the United States hoping New Delhi can persuade him to ink the troubled pact.
India-educated Karzai has close ties with India, which is keen to ensure that the exit of some 75,000 US-led NATO troops at the end of 2014 does not trigger a return to power of the hardline Taliban militia.
But speaking to Indian television, Karzai said he would not be ‘intimidated’ into signing the pact which would allow 12,000 US troops to stay in Afghanistan after 2014 and sets out their terms of engagement.
‘Aggressive rhetoric won’t work... We are not a nation that is known for giving into intimidation,’ he told NDTV.
‘If they have not recognised this they should, it will be good for them to recognise... We will sign it when we feel sure that our signature will bring peace and security.’




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