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Karzai stands firm on US proposal

Afghan president Hamid Karzai says he will not sign a security pact with the US unless Washington and Pakistan launch a peace process with Taliban insurgents.

Mr Karzai has repeatedly refused to approve the bilateral security agreement (BSA), which allows American troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond the end of this year.

The US wants Mr Karzai to accept a residual force of foreigners to stay on and back up the new Afghan security forces.

However, Mr Karzai says that before accepting the terms governing that force, he wants Washington to help resume peace talks. Pakistan's help is seen as key to that having any chance of success.

"If US is not willing to accept our conditions on the BSA they can leave any time and Afghan will go without foreigners," Mr Karzai told reporters on Saturday.

AP

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