Karzai tells Afghan elders that US partnership needs to include end of NATO night raids

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai is telling a grand council of tribal elders that any ongoing partnership with the U.S. will need to include an end to NATO's nighttime raids.

Speaking to about 2,000 delegates at the opening of the loya jirga, Karzai also said that international forces will need to hand over control of detention centers to Afghan forces.

The elders are considering the terms of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan over the coming years. The roughly 100,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan operate without any bilateral agreement governing their actions, though the majority of them are under a U.N. mandate.

While the jirga holds no legal authority, its backing could give Karzai extra leverage in negotiations with Washington.

Karzai told the elders to keep in mind both the need for international help and the need to make sure that Afghans are setting the rules in their own country.

The jirga is scheduled to meet for four days. The Taliban have condemned the meeting as an attempt by the U.S. to justify a permanent presence in Afghanistan and have threatened attacks to disrupt it.

(Copyright 2011, The Associated Press)

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