KABUL (Reuters) - The United States has no interest in creating permanent military bases in Afghanistan and does not want to use the country as a platform to influence neighboring countries, the new U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan said Monday.
Washington is negotiating with the Afghan government on a deal to define the long-term American role in Afghanistan beyond the end of 2014, when NATO-led combat troops are due to leave after handing security control to the Afghan army and police.
It remains unclear whether the "strategic partnership" agreement would explicitly refer to possible U.S. military bases in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said the possibility of long-term U.S. bases can only be addressed once peace has been achieved.
"We have no interest in permanent bases in Afghanistan," said U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker shortly after he was sworn in at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, in an apparent nod to Afghanistan's powerful and wary neighbors.