Gates: US to remain in Afghanistan long-term in some form

Gates: US to remain in Afghanistan long-term in some form

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates said Monday that his country wants to build a long-term security relationship with Afghanistan and hopes to soon start discussing a strategic partnership, dpa reported.

The US does not want Afghanistan, or any other country, to be a safe haven for terrorists to attack the United States, Gates said while addressing a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul.

"The specifics need to be negotiated. With the permission of the Afghan government, we want to have some form of presence here," Gates said, without elaborating.

"There is no interest in permanent bases, but if Afghans want it, we can contemplate the idea."

Gates was on an unannounced two-day visit to Afghanistan on Monday where he met with NATO officials and the Afghan president. This was his 13th visit to the country.

The defence secretary repeated US President Barack Obama's apology for the death of nine Afghan boys in a NATO airstrike last week. He said it was a "setback for relationship."

"It breaks our heart. My personal apologies to President Karzai and the Afghan people. Not only is their loss a tragedy for their families, it is a setback for our relationship with the Afghan people," Gates said.

Karzai said during the press conference he respected and accepted the apology, adding civilian casualties have been a major source of grief for Afghans and that they want it to stop.

"They don't want to lose their loved ones whether in crossfire or an operation. This is the plea of the Afghan people," Karzai said.

Civilian casualties have been a major source of contention between the Afghan government and international forces, primarily US forces.

On Sunday, Karzai harshly criticized US forces for causing civilian casualties during their operations, rejecting an apology from US General David Petraeus as "not enough" and "no longer acceptable."

The New York Times said Gates was in Afghanistan to begin assessments to determine the number of US troops that could be withdrawn from the country in July.

Gates said in the press conference that the US is well-positioned to begin withdrawing troops in summer.

"We are closer than ever to build a strong Afghan security force who will start taking responsibility of security. We will be well- positioned to draw down in a small number from this summer," Gates told reporters.

Nearly 100,000 US soldiers are currently in Afghanistan. The US and NATO had planned to start troop reductions from mid-2011.

Addressing the media after meeting with Karzai, Gates said al- Qaeda has lost some regional standing due to recent uprisings in the Middle East and Arab countries.

"Their narrative that extreme violence is essential has been disappointed by the people," Gates said.

The US has prepared a number of options regarding capabilities for "a military action against Libya," he said. But any army action should be part of international sanctions, he added.

Azersu LLC announces tender for  purchase of equipment for laboratory
Azersu LLC announces tender for purchase of equipment for laboratory
Turkmengas opens tender for maintenance of gas turbine generators
Turkmengas opens tender for maintenance of gas turbine generators
Airport in Uzbekistan to buy auto parts via tender
Airport in Uzbekistan to buy auto parts via tender
Loading Bars
Latest
Iranian currency rates for November 30
Oil prices slip in cautious trade ahead of OPEC+ meet
Azerbaijan's ANAMA continues demining road to liberated Sugovushan settlement (PHOTOS)
Iran boosts exports via Kerman Province
Iran to prepare agricultural plan for Gilan and Mazandaran provinces
Azerbaijan’s liberation of its territories to revive historical Silk Road – Turkish Grand National Assembly
Azerbaijan’s Aghdam sometimes called "Hiroshima of Caucasus" - France-24 (VIDEO)
Brazil surpasses 6.3 million COVID-19 cases
Malaria death toll to exceed COVID-19's in sub-Saharan Africa: WHO
New Zealand regulator charges 13 parties over White Island eruption tragedy
Daily COVID-19 case count drops to 794 in Kazakhstan
Solar panel power plant launched in Iran's Fars Province
Hamilton wins F1 Bahrain Grand Prix as Grosjean escapes horror crash
Biden to receive first presidential intelligence briefing on Monday
Jennifer Psaki to be Joe Biden’s White House press secretary
Expenses on construction of enterprises in Iran’s Tehran Province drops
Trump senior aide Kushner and team heading to Saudi Arabia, Qatar
France's new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations continue to fall
Israeli cabinet approves aviation, science cooperation deals with UAE
Africa's confirmed COVID-19 cases pass 2.15 mln mark: Africa CDC
74 more coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past day
Israel launches national plan to strengthen industry amid COVID-19
OPEC+ monitoring committee meeting yields no consensus
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's transport sector
Several Turkish provinces revert preschools to remote teaching over pandemic
UK records another 12,155 coronavirus cases with 215 deaths
Certain investments to be made into industrial parks of Iran’s Qazvin Province
Azerbaijani ministries, AzerGold company hold landscaping campaign on Chovdar field
Rocket hits small oil refinery in Iraq's north, forcing shutdown: officials
Jeyhun Bayramov expresses condolences to his Iranian counterpart
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe up by over 564,000 in past day
Employment in Iran's Bushehr Province enlarges
Average yield of tobacco in Azerbaijan in 2020 exceeds last year volume
Iranian Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale November 30
Weekly review of events in financial market of Azerbaijan
Norway calls on all political parties to enable new, more diverse parliament in Georgia
Turkey condemns killing of key Iranian nuclear scientist as act of 'terrorism'
Argentine prosecutors investigate death of soccer star Maradona
Performances results of Azerbaijani gymnasts at European Championships in rhythmic gymnastics unveiled
Iran reveals details of exports through Bandar Lengeh County
Projects within Industrialization Map framework being implemented in Kazakhstan's Akmola
Overview of events in agricultural sector of Azerbaijan for last week of November
Activities on provision of Russian peacekeeping contingent held (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran boosts manufacturing of passenger cars
UAE cabinet approves new cybersecurity body, climate change envoy
Geostat reveals volume of ferroalloys exported by Georgia to Turkey
Bahar Azadi gold coin price still falling in Iran
Kazakhstan continues introduction of mobile diagnostic tools in railway sector
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan discuss possibilities of attracting investors to Azerbaijani territories liberated from occupation
Britain expects 'very significant' week for Brexit talks as clock ticks down
Iran declares cargo transportation from Sistan and Baluchestan Province
Death toll from COVID-19 tops 172,000 in Brazil
Chinese companies to process Uzbek garlic for further export to US and European countries
Turkey's export of grain, legumes to France declines
Iran reveals its COVID-19 data for November 29
Details of Iran’s trade turnover announced
EU aims to support Georgia in its efforts to reform electricity market
Azerbaijan confirms 4,170 new COVID-19 cases, 1,985 recoveries
5.5-magnitude quake hits Vanuatu
Azersu LLC announces tender for purchase of equipment for laboratory
Kazakhstan's import of Turkish cement up
Azerbaijan shows footage of Aghdam's Shahbuldag village (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Expenses on construction of enterprises in Iran’s Isfahan Province increases
Number of enterprises launched in Iran's Ilam Province shrinks
Turkmengas opens tender for maintenance of gas turbine generators
At least 30 police killed, over 20 wounded in suicide car bomb explosion in E. Afghanistan
Georgia reports 4 426 new coronavirus cases, 3 721 recoveries, 35 deaths
Over 5,500 patients recover from coronavirus in Moscow in the past day
Azerbaijan shows footage of liberated from occupation villages of Kalbajar region (PHOTO/VIDEO)
China increases import of Turkish cars
Employment in Iran's Alborz Province declines
The President of Turkmenistan receives representative of medical community of Germany
S. Korea reports 450 more COVID-19 cases, 33,824 in total
Azerbaijan's turnover on payment cards in 10M2020 up
Inter-Agency Coordination Council discusses enforcement of Covid restrictions
Azerbaijan has ample opportunities and potential for artificial intelligence dev't
Trump may announce plans for 2024 presidential race during Biden’s inauguration
826 more coronavirus cases recorded in Kazakhstan over 24 hours
France sees further fall in COVID-19 hospitalizations as lockdown exit starts
Turkey's Temsa makes 1st electric bus exports to Sweden
Iran registers monthly positive trade balance
Scottish dev’t agency eyes establishing co-op with companies in Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan
Croatian PM in self-quarantine after wife contracts COVID-19
UK records another 15,871 coronavirus cases with 479 deaths
Some 46,000 people gather in Paris to protest against security bill
Kazakhstan to modify large energy saving projects on railways
Severe fire danger for Australia as temperatures smash records
Dozens of Boko Haram militants killed in Nigeria airstrikes
Pope installs new cardinals, including first African-American
WHO reports new daily record high of over 747,000 COVID-19 cases
UK police arrest 155 in anti-lockdown protests in London
Assistant to Azerbaijani president posts footage from Tartar, Aghdam cities
UK, France sign new deal to stop illegal migration across Channel
Iran discloses electricity generation at Iran's Bandar Abbas TPP
Turkey reports 6,714 new COVID-19 cases, 487,912 in total
Zarif: Iran at forefront of fighting terrorism
Georgia takes necessary steps to avoid increase in bread prices
Ethiopian military has taken 'full control' of Tigray capital, government says
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price continues to fall
Weekly review of Azerbaijani precious metals market
All news