Code 180729
PublishDate: Saturday, September 14, 2013 09:05

U.S. to keep 20,000 troops in Afghanistan: Pakistani senator

The United States will keep approximately 20,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan who will reside in nine bases in different parts of the country.

The United States will keep approximately 20,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan who will reside in nine bases in different parts of the country, a top Pakistani senator said on Friday on the conclusion of his visit to Afghanistan.

Chairman of the Pakistani Senate Committee on Defense, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, said on his return from a four-day visit that he was informed in Kabul that within the next two months, a bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington will be signed, allowing foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan.

Speaking at a news conference, he also said according to informed sources in Kabul, there were over 100,000 U.S. contractors who were engaged in various security and other related responsibilities for both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"This number would not be affected by the draw-down of NATO troops," Mushahid Hussain said.

The Pakistani delegation also met Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who welcomed the results of a recent Pakistani parliamentary conference which decided to initiate dialogue with the militants.

The four-day visit of the Senate Defense Committee to Kabul has institutionalized the first-ever dialogue on defense, security and military related issues between the two neighbors.

The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to institutionalize the dialogue, the next round of which will be convened in Islamabad after the Afghanistan presidential elections in April 2014.(APA)

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