U.S. Congress favours long-term military presence in Afghanistan

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Washington, July 14 : The United States Congress is apparently in favour of maintaining a long-term military presence in Afghanistan.

According to the Washington Post, the Congress has used a fiscal 2008 legislation to signal this intent.

A recently approved supplemental funding Bill suggests a long stay in Afghanistan.

It includes approval for the construction of a 62 million dollar ammunition storage facility at the Bagram Air Force Base on the outskirts of Afghan capital Kabul.

"As a forward operating site, Bagram must be able to provide for a long term, steady state presence which is able to surge to meet theatre contingency requirements," the Army said in requesting the money from Congress.

Last year, U.S. CENTCOM chief Admiral William J. Fallon described Bagram as "the centrepiece for the CENTCOM Master Plan for future access to and operations in Central Asia."

In another sign that U.S. troops will be there a long time, the Army requested, and Congress provided, 41 million dollars for a 30-megawatt power plant at Bagram. It is capable of generating enough electricity for a town of more than 20,000 homes.

The Congress, however, refused the Army's request for 184 million dollars to build power plants at five bases in Iraq.

The funding plan also shows preparations to shut down Iraqi military facilities.

Money was approved to build landfills, at 880,000 dollars apiece, at five forward operating bases that are to be closed, including the ones at Fallujah and Ramadi.

The Congress, however, did approve 11.7 million dollars to build a facility for juveniles held by the United States at an Iraqi army base on the outskirts of Baghdad, called Camp Constitution.

ANI

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