KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — About 2,000 Afghan elders are expected in Kabul tomorrow for the start of a four-day grand council meeting, as President Hamid Karzai seeks support for a security partnership with the U.S. after international troops depart Afghanistan.
Few expect the council to produce much of substance, both because its legal status is unclear and because there is no draft agreement to present to the assembled elders. But, it could give Karzai political cover for negotiations with the U.S.
The deal could keep some American troops in the country for another decade. People familiar with the discussions say Karzai has laid out terms that would bar international troops from entering any Afghan home. He also has proposed putting all detention facilities under Afghan control almost immediately.
So far, Karzai's terms have been unacceptable to U.S. officials.
Meanwhile, the Taliban have condemned tomorrow's meeting as an attempt by the U.S. to justify a permanent presence in Afghanistan. It's threatened to launch attacks to disrupt it.
(Copyright 2011, The Associated Press)