Karzai to visit Britain next week: officials

2nd December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will visit Britain next week to sign a strategic partnership deal with London following a conference on Afghanistan's future in Germany, his office said Friday.

Karzai will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron and heir to the throne Prince Charles during the two-day visit Tuesday and Wednesday, officials added.

The strategic partnership agreement between Britain and Afghanistan will govern political and diplomatic relations between the two countries after 2014, by which time all foreign combat troops are due to leave.

Last month, a loya jirga or traditional meeting of Afghan elders endorsed a strategic partnership deal with the United States -- with a string of conditions including an end to US-led night raids -- and other countries including Britain.

The agreement with Britain is expected to be less complex than the one with the US, which is still being negotiated in talks which have dragged on longer than expected.

It is not expected to cover any future British military presence in Afghanistan after 2014, when a sizeable international training mission for Afghan forces is expected to remain.

Britain currently has around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, mainly in the troubled southern province of Helmand.

It is the second largest contributor to the 140,000-strong foreign force fighting a Taliban-led insurgency after the US.

Karzai's trip to London will come after Monday's Bonn conference on the future of Afghanistan, which will discuss the international community's role in the warring country post-2014.

© 2011 AFP

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