'US and Nato have not respected our sovereignty', says Karzai as he rules out security deal
Afghanistan's president today ruled out signing a security deal with the United States until disagreements over sovereignty are resolved, but said he will convene a council of elders in one month to help him make a decision on the pending agreement.
Hamid Karzai made the pointed remarks about the languishing Bilateral Security Agreement even as he condemned what he described as repeated violations of Afghan sovereignty by the United States and allies.
The US wants a deal by the end of October to give American and NATO military planners enough time to prepare for keeping troops in the country after the scheduled 2014 withdrawal — instead of a total pullout similar to the one in Iraq. There are increasing indications the US may in fact pull out all their forces.
"The United States and NATO have not respected our sovereignty. Whenever they find it suitable to them, they have acted against it. This has been a serious point of contention between us and that is why we are taking issue of the BSA strenuously in the negotiations right now," Karzai said.
Karzai's comments came on the 12th anniversary of the start of the American campaign in Afghanistan against al-Qaida that ousted its Taliban allies from power. The invasion was in response to the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, which claimed nearly 3,000 lives.
Karzai's outburst came in response to a question about a NATO airstrike on Oct. 5 in Nangarhar province, near an airport used by US-led international military coalition forces, that the government claimed killed 5 civilians. The coalition said they struck insurgents trying to mortar the base and that no civilians were hurt. NATO has opened an investigation into the incident.
"They commit their violations against our sovereignty and conduct raids against our people, air raids and other attacks in the name of the fight on terrorism and in the name of the resolutions of the United Nations. This is against our wishes and repeatedly against our wishes," Karzai said, using some of his harshest language to date against the US-led military coalition.
Karzai has banned coalition airstrikes in populated areas because they sometimes cause civilian casualties.
He said there were various issues to be resolved before he could sign an agreement, which has been in negotiation for nearly a year and is said to be nearly complete. They include American guarantees against foreign intervention, a reference to Pakistan, and a counterterrorism force the U.S. wants to leave in Afghanistan to go after the remnants of al-Qa'ida.
"Therefore the BSA has become an instrument for us to gain respect for our sovereignty, to gain the protection of the lives of our people. So the BSA is where we will determine this. The United States and its allies, NATO, continue to demand even after signing the BSA they will have the freedom to attack our people, our villages. The Afghan people will never allow it," he added.
He told reporters that he will convene a Loya Jirga, or council of Afghan elders, in one month to discuss the state of the agreement. Karzai has said the deal needs to be approved by the Loya Jirga, but is doubtful any agreement will have been reached in a month.
Afghanistan and the United States have since last October been negotiating a security deal that will give the US a legal basis for having forces in Afghanistan after 2014, and also allow it to lease bases around the country. If the US does not sign the deal, it is unlikely that NATO or any of its allies will keep troops in Afghanistan. Germany has already indicated it will not commit the 800 soldiers it has promised if the US deal is not signed.
Karzai, however, is pressing demands that the US is reluctant to meet, and apparently thinks that the United States wants the deal more than he does — and will eventually cave in to his demands. It is believed he also wants to shield himself from any possible backlash from signing a deal that some see as compromising too much Afghan sovereignty.
But there appears to be a growing perception gap in the Karzai camp as the United States and many of its allies are now openly considering a full military pullout.
President Barack Obama told the AP last Friday that he would consider keeping some American forces on the ground after the conflict formally ends next year, but acknowledged that doing so would require an agreement. He suggested that if no agreement can be reached, he would be comfortable with a full pullout of US troops.
Karzai had called the news conference to thank candidates for registering to take part in the April 5 presidential elections. A total of 27 presidential candidates, along with two vice-presidential running mates, registered Sunday for the crucial vote next year.
"The participation and nomination for next year's presidential election showed the national unity of the Afghans and is another step toward prosperity and democracy," Karzai said.
He also called on government employees not to participate in any pre-electoral shenanigans and called on foreigners not to interfere with the vote.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...