21 Nov 2013

Karzai says troops may stay in Afghanistan

9:40 pm on 21 November 2013

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says up to 15,000 foreign troops could stay in the country beyond 2014 if a security pact with the United States is passed.

About 2500 tribal chiefs, chieftains and dignitaries are gathered in Kabul for a four-day discussion of the bilateral security agreement with Washington, AFP reports.

Mr Karzai told the delegates at the Loya Jirga on Thursday that under the agreement, up to 15,000 troops including soldiers from other NATO members, would stay when the bulk of American troops pull out in 2014.

The force would include troops from NATO member Turkey or some other Muslim nation, he said.

Mr Karzai said he expected the agreement to lead to peace in his war-torn country.

"It must bring peace to Afghanistan. I'm aware that they (US) can bring peace, it's in their hands," he added to applause from delegates.