Hamid Karzai overrules Afghanistan's Loya Jirga by refusing to sign US security deal until 2014
Sunday 24 November 2013
President Hamid Karzai has said that he will not sign a security deal with the US until next April’s elections, ignoring a recommendation by the Loya Jirga of elders that he do so this year.
His refusal puts in doubt whether the US will keep troops in the country after foreign combat forces withdraw next year.
Although Mr Karzai did not spell out his reasons for deferring its signature until after the April 5 elections, the move was a slap in the face to US officials who had repeatedly asked for a deal by the end of the year.
The US administration has insisted the deal be finalized by the end of next month, warning that planning for a post-2014 military presence may be jeopardized if it is not approved. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel both asked last week that it be signed by the end of the year.
Failure to do so could be the final blow to the Bilateral Security Agreement, leaving the Americans without a legal basis to keep forces in the country for up to a decade to train and mentor Afghan troops who remain ill-prepared to face a persistent Taliban insurgency.
The US has said it will pull all its forces out of Afghanistan without it, as it did when Iraq failed to sign a similar agreement. Most of America's allies have also said they will pull out their troops in without the deal, a withdrawal that could put at risk more than $8 billion (£5 million) a year pledged by the international community for Afghan security forces and the country's development.
After negotiators hammered out compromises on several issues, Karzai had called the 2,500 tribal elders and regional leaders to the capital to debate the draft deal in a consultative assembly known as a Loya Jirga.
The four-day assembly had the option of asking for changes or rejecting the agreement. Instead Karzai added a new wrinkle by announcing on the opening day Thursday that he wanted delegates to endorse the deal but he would not sign it.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...