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Last Updated: Monday, 9 May, 2005, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Afghan press mixed on Karzai's US plans
Hamid Karzai
Mr Karzai wants support for his plan

Newspapers in Afghanistan are divided over the reported decision by national, regional and tribal leaders to back President Hamid Karzai's plan for a long-term strategic partnership with the US.

State-run newspapers regard the need for continued US military support as self-evident against the background of the recent rise in violence.

Mr Karzai's decision to convene a meeting of more than 1,000 national, regional and tribal leaders in Kabul is applauded by the Hewad.

It describes his move as "a good example of a democratic system showing that the government is taking major steps to implement the principles of democracy".

On the specific topics discussed, it observes that "the post-conflict recovery process has begun, but we have been unable to stand on our own feet so far".

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"There is a whole host of problems and challenges lying ahead", it believes, adding that "to tackle these challenges and problems, we need to build strategic ties with the international community".

'Political insight'

The security argument weighs equally heavily with Eslah.

If Afghans want to enjoy lasting peace and stability, they should understand that the presence of US forces is needed until the police and army are trained and equipped
Eslah

"In spite of vigorous efforts by Nato and Isaf forces to maintain adequate security and stability in Afghanistan, the country is still suffering an acute crisis," it warns.

"If the Afghan people want to enjoy lasting peace and stability, they should understand that the presence of US forces is needed until the national police and army are trained and well-equipped," it concludes.

Mr Karzai is also supported by Anis, which pays tribute to his "shrewd national and political insight" in convening the conference even though the constitution authorized him to take decisions alone until after the parliamentary election due in September.

It goes on to note that all but one of the participants in the gathering "agreed to the presence of foreign troops and stressed the continuation of foreign cooperation even after parliament has been formed".

Neutrality fears

Two independent dailies are less enthusiastic.

A different picture of the meeting emerges in Arman-e Melli.

In its view, the main point is that "the delegates explicitly described the decision as being beyond the authority of the government or that gathering" and "stressed that the issue should be decided on by parliament".

Establishing the permanent presence of foreign troops and their military bases in Afghanistan will call into question Afghanistan's nonalignment policy
Cheragh

Concern is expressed by Cheragh, which is worried about the long-term implications of more permanent security agreements with the US.

"It is true that Afghanistan is in dire need of humanitarian aid from the international community, particularly the United States, to maintain stability, boost its shattered economy, speed up the reconstruction process and address current problems," it acknowledges.

"But establishing the permanent presence of foreign troops and their military bases in Afghanistan and leading Afghanistan towards military pacts will call into question Afghanistan's nonalignment policy," it fears.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




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