Eklil Hakimi calls for a long-term partnership between U.S., Afghanistan.
Despite tensions between the U.S. and Afghanistan following the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians, allegedly by a U.S. soldier, the Afghan ambassador to the U.S., Eklil Hakimi, emphasized on Sunday the necessity for long-term cooperation between the two nations.
"We are an ally in war against terror, and we are an ally to make Afghanistan a safe place," Hakimi said on CNN's State of the Union, adding that the country is grateful for the sacrifices U.S. soldiers have made.
But with Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently calling the U.S. a "demon," relations are strained. Hakimi admitted that Karzai's words were indicative of the wider sentiment in the nation right now.
"Our president is doing whatever any legitimate president would do: He is reflecting, somehow, what the people are saying. The situation there, especially with these very tragic incidents, is not that easy," he said. Hakimi also suggested the statements may have been taken out of context by the media.
Though citizens of both countries are calling for immediate U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Obama has restated his commitment to the troop withdrawal as planned, which is due for completion in 2014. But after a decade of bitter combat with what some see as little to show for their efforts, both nations have become weary with the fight. Hakimi, however, expressed the need for a long-term partnership between the two nations.
"We have a strategic partnership [with the U.S.], and now we are working on another partnership to define our relationship for the years to come," he said.
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