U. S. Seeking Permanent Military Bases in Afghanistan

April 10, 2005

On April 5, Afghanistan's Defense Minister said he was discussing an agreement with the U.S. that would include permanent air bases in Afghanistan.

General Abdul Rahim Wardak said the details of what would constitute "a long-term U.S. presence" were still under discussion. He said he was eager for "enduring arrangements" that would include "pre-positioned" military equipment to be used by rapidly deployed U. S. forces.

"We will certainly seek enduring relations and partnerships with our international friends," Wardak told a gathering of military analysts in London. "This will prevent the repetition of the catastrophic disengagement of the international community from Afghanistan in the 1990s, which cost us all so dearly."

In February, Senator John McCain, suggested such an arrangement, when after a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul, he said it was his "personal view" that permanent bases should be established.

Last month, General Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. joint chiefs of staff, acknowledged during a trip to Afghanistan that the U.S. was considering such a move.

The U.S. continues to expand main air base in Bagram, where it is building a new runway. Bagram would be the most likely location of a permanent U.S. presence.