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Allowing permanent military bases of foreign nations in Afghanistan is a sign of weakness, Balkh Governor told his fellow provincial council officials at a conference in Balkh Tuesday.

However, not all of his counterparts agreed.

Provincial government officials from all over the Afghanistan gathered for a two-day conference in northern Balkh province to discuss issues related to the security transition from the Nato-led troops to Afghan forces, the steps made towards peace, and the role of provincial councils in local governance.

Balkh Governor Atta Mohammed Nur told those who attended that he fully endorsed the Afghan-US Strategic Partnership Agreement but expressed his disagreement on having any permanent US military bases in the country.

While the US-Afghan pact, which was finalised on Sunday, does not agree to having permanent bases, Afghanistan's National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta told Parliament on Monday that the question of the bases would be revisited a year from the signing of the pact.

Nur said relying on a permanent US presence would damage Afghan sovereignty.

"I am talking as a Afghan. There is no need for permanent bases of the superpower countries," Nur said.

"If a nation accepts the permanent bases of any country it will become poor. When we allow them to make permanent bases, we must look to their pockets, their hands, and their decisions."

Instead of US permanent bases, Nur said the plan must be to reinforce Afghan security forces otherwise the transition process would face serious problems.

However, other provincial councils heads voiced disagreement.

Head of Khost provincial council Daud Shah Mtin Zai said that the military bases were needed "in the present time because otherwise we will face security challenges".

Faryab provincial council deputy Ghulam Sakhi Nawid said: "Undoubtedly, permanent bases of the international community are needed for Afghanistan, but on the one condition that there is total honesty [from the foreign country]."

Nangarhar provincial council member Mohammed Ayub Maleek Baba agreed with the Balkh governor, saying Afghanistan was not ready for permanent bases of a foreign army and that furthermore, such bases were limited.

Nur stressed that for a successful security transition to Afghan forces and lasting stability in Afghanistan, the country should set up a serious commission to identify the vulnerable regions in country and address how best to correct the weaknesses.

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