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Afghanistan's Karzai slams US 'threats' over security deal to let troops stay past 2014

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has lashed out at the United States, accusing it of making threats in the dispute over an agreement to keep U.S. troops in the country beyond 2014.

In an interview with the French daily Le Monde, Karzai says the U.S. is "absolutely" acting like a colonial power in its attempts to force him to sign the bilateral security agreement by the end of this year. The paper quoted him as assaying: "The threats they are making, 'We won't pay salaries, we'll drive you into a civil war.' These are threats."

Washington and NATO officials say the pact is critical to the plan to keep thousands of forces in Afghanistan after 2014 for a training and counterterrorism mission.