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Afghan jirga members urge Karzai to sign US security pact

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by layman, Nov 24, 2013.

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  1. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    KABUL: Members of an Afghan grand assembly debating a crucial security pact with the United States voiced concern Saturday at President Hamid Karzai's insistence it will not be signed until after April's election to choose his successor.

    Kabul and Washington have agreed a joint draft of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), governing the presence of US troops in Afghanistan after 2014, which is being debated by the “loya jirgaâ€, a gathering of about 2,500 chieftains, tribal elders and politicians.

    But in his opening statement on Thursday, Karzai told the meeting that the painstakingly negotiated deal would not be signed until after next year's presidential election, sparking a strong response from Washington, which wants it signed by the end of this year.

    US officials warned that failure to sign the pact, which governs the conditions of any post-war American counter-terrorism and training mission in Afghanistan, could jeopardise crucial aid to the war-torn country.

    The White House has said it needs a swift decision to start planning the movement of any US troops, and warned that President Barack Obama had not yet decided whether or not to keep American forces in Afghanistan.

    “Karzai doesn't have the right to say this, he is making a mistake,†said Sebghatullah Mujadidi, the head of the jirga.

    “They (the Americans) have accepted all the conditions set out by him and us. It would hurt Afghanistan if he does not accept it,†he added.

    Amir Mohammad Akhnudzada, a delegate from the volatile southern Helmand province, said: “I think President Karzai should respect the decision of the Afghan elders, and all the delegates want this Bilateral Security Agreement signed as soon as possible.â€

    Earlier, Karzai's spokesman Aimal Faizy told AFP that the president would explain the reasons for his stance in his closing speech to the jirga planned for Sunday.

    On the penultimate day of the four-day jirga on Saturday, delegates debated the legal jurisdiction for US troops who remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

    A draft text released by Kabul Wednesday appeared to show Karzai had bowed to a US demand that American troops would not be tried in local courts if they are accused of crimes.

    A similar security deal between the United States and Iraq collapsed in 2011 over the issue of whether American troops would be answerable to local courts, leading Washington to pull its forces out.

    But the text, published on the Afghan foreign ministry website, said Kabul had agreed that the United States should have “the exclusive right to exercise jurisdiction†over its forces.

    “Undoubtedly, article 13 was a matter of concern to the people of Afghanistan. We discussed it thoroughly, and approved this article with some changes,†said jirga member Abdul Qayom.

    Anarkali Honaryar said: “This jirga was called mainly because of article 13 of the BSA. Everybody gives their suggestions and advice to the loya jirga.â€

    Karzai on Thursday told delegates that the BSA would allow up to 15,000 foreign troops to stay in Afghanistan.

    The jirga is to give its decision Sunday on the pact, the text of which was only agreed after months of tortuous negotiations with Washington.

    The jirga is widely expected to approve it, though possibly with recommendations or conditions, after which it must also be approved by the Afghan parliament before it can be signed into effect.

    Supporters of the deal say it is vital for post-2014, when the bulk of Nato's 75,000 troops will pull out.

    The Taliban insurgency this year has reached levels of violence not seen since 2010, according to the United Nations.

    Afghanistan goes to the polls on April 5 to elect a successor to Karzai, who must step down after his two terms.

    A credible election is seen as crucial to the country's future stability.


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  2. Manmohan Yadav

    Manmohan Yadav Brigadier STAR MEMBER

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    he'd better
     
  3. Marqueur

    Marqueur Peaceful Silence ELITE MEMBER

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    he should sign the agreement ...
     
  4. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    Seems Mr. Karzai is trying to get much mileage from the US deal. Sign it as such deal secures Afghans interests for sometime.
     
  5. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

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    Participants of the Loya Jirga voted for signing a military agreement with the United States and asked President Hamid Karzai to sign the treaty before the end of 2013. Karzai has put forward the conditions for the United States. These include free elections in April 2014, the cessation of raids on Afghan homes, as well as progress in negotiations with the Taliban.

    Hafizullah Raseh member of the "Afghan Solidarity" party leadership believes that even if the U.S. accept on paper the conditions set by Karzai, they will actually do as before. He says that " an agreement on security cooperation between the U.S. and Afghanistan is a betrayal of the interests of the Afghan people ."

    “United States have military bases in more than 100 countries . And everywhere people are against this. The Japanese people are against Okinawa U.S. base, saying that it does not benefit either the island or Japan. Or take the Philippines, there, in places where U.S. military bases are located, the production of drugs is prospering, just like in our country. Accordingly, the fact that the U.S. insists on legal immunity of its military bases in the country where they commit crimes, gives them the right to do whatever they want.”

    “During the eleven years of their presence in Afghanistan, which they have done for us? Nothing! Only killed our innocent citizens, increased drug production, brought into our life violence and terrorism . They set a price of 2000 dollars for the life of Afghan civilians killed – thank you very much!”…

    “On the other hand, these bases will cause instability in the relations between Afghanistan and neighboring countries. They created the Taliban and terrorists. I have no doubt that in the future they will still stir up strife in the region, and the blame would be laid on Afghanistan.”

    This is what will happen if they remain . Do you think that if the US fully withdraws from Afghanistan, then, on the contrary, peace and stability will come ?

    “I admit that we have problems, but if the Americans leave Afghanistan, we will at the same time get rid of those enemies that the U.S. itself created and is still funding . And anyway who said that they are leaving? U.S. will never withdraw from Afghanistan . Just think, why would they built eight bases in different provinces of our country?”

    “Whether Karzai will sign an agreement or not, the U.S. will still remain with us for a long time . Afghanistan for them is a bridge between Asia and European countries. U.S. need both the skies and the soil of Afghanistan, and not stability in it.”

    Opinions on this issue among Afghans disagree . Many religious leaders and politicians oppose it, while others, on the contrary, believe that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan is necessary .

    Among them is the human rights activist and Fahim Hakim . In an interview with " Voice of Russia ", he said :

    “Those who believe that the signing of the agreement with the United States - is a betrayal of the Afghan people are very much mistaken . Over the past eleven years, Afghanistan has achieved a lot in education, human rights, freedom of speech and so on. And the fact that people want signing of the agreement indicates that they are afraid to go back into the past, to the rule of the Taliban.”

    “Of course, we were surprised why Karzai said at the end that we will sign an agreement only after the elections. But in any case, the agreement on security cooperation between the U.S. and Afghanistan is good for our people.”
     
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