Pakistan opposes US presence in Afghanistan after 2014 deadline

Islamabad, July 4 (ANI): A U.S request to maintain NATO supply routes to Afghanistan after 2014 has been rejected by Pakistan.

Senior diplomats and defence officials in Pakistan claimed that Americans have expressed an interest to continue using the land routes and are keen to establish permanent bases in Afghanistan.

According to The Express Tribune, the officials claimed that Washington intended to establish at least three permanent bases, one each in Bagram, close to the capital city of Kabul, Kandahar and Herat, to stay in the country till 2024, which was in contrast to its earlier claims of handing over security arrangements to Afghanistan and exiting the war-torn region by 2014.

They also said that the nation opposes the US' plan to establish a military base in Kandahar, which is a southern Afghanistan province close to the Durand Line, and is believed to be the heartland of the Taliban led by Mullah Omar.

Some recent reports also revealed the United States' counter-terrorism campaign included drone strikes around the Durand Line for the next 10 years.

An official privy to negotiations said though neither side had entered into a definitive agreement on allowing the use of NATO land routes till 2024, it was one of the factors that kept Pakistan from taking the decision for so long. (ANI)