May 9, 2013 9:12 AM
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he is ready to let the U.S. have nine bases in the country after the 2014 combat troop pullout, but wants Washington's "security and economic guarantees" first.
Speaking at a ceremony today at Kabul University, Karzai said Afghanistan is ready to sign a partnership agreement to that effect.
Karzai says: "When they (the U.S.) do this, we are ready to sign."
The remarks are the first time the Afghan leader has offered any insight into ongoing talks over a deal that would outline American presence in Afghanistan after 2014.
Karzai says Afghanistan wants a U.S. commitment to quickly bring security to the country, strengthen its security forces and the promise of prolonged economic development.
U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment.