News / Asia

Afghan Meeting Opens to Discuss US-Afghan Security Pact

Security Agreement Between Afghanistan and US Proposedi
X
November 21, 2013 7:49 AM
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has negotiated a draft agreement with U.S. officials.
Security Agreement Between Afghanistan and US Proposed
VOA News
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has urged a gathering of Afghan elders to approve a security agreement with the United States, saying the deal would allow 10,000 to 15,000 foreign troops to remain in Afghanistan after the NATO pullout next year.
 
He also said U.S. troops would only be able to enter Afghan homes in exceptional cases -- a point of contention over nearly a year of negotiations on the agreement. 
 
Hours before the meeting, Secretary of State John Kerry announced the two sides had agreed on the final text of the bilateral security pact.
 
The gathering of Afghan elders, known as a "Loya Jirga," is expected to spend three days debating the agreement, which will shape the security relationship between Washington and Kabul for years to come. The group must give its approval before the document goes to the Afghan parliament for a vote.
 
The group can revise or reject any clause of the draft agreement, and a flat-out rejection would most likely prevent the Afghan government from signing it.
 
Security in Kabul is high, with offices closed and dozens of checkpoints set up along the route leading to the site of the meeting. Taliban insurgents, who have staged a 12-year rebellion in Afghanistan, have condemned the meeting and threatened to target the delegates if a deal is approved.
 
On Tuesday, Afghan presidential spokesman Aimal Faizi said the two sides had agreed to allow U.S. raids on Afghan homes if President Barack Obama wrote a letter acknowledging mistakes by the U.S. military in Afghanistan. However, Kerry disputed this, and maintained that Karzai did not ask the U.S. to apologize for civilian casualties.
 
The so-called Bilateral Security Agreement is seen as vital to lasting peace in the war-torn nation, where the United Nations said the Taliban insurgency this year reached levels of violence not seen since 2010.
 
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Afghanistan's election commission announced the final list of candidates for next year's presidential poll, which will be the country's first-ever democratic transfer of power.
 
Karzai, who was appointed to the presidency following the U.S.-led invasion of 2001, must step down after serving two terms.
 
Afghan presidential candidate Mohammad Daud Sultanzoy said that he believes the U.S- Afghan agreement is important to Afghanistan's future.
 
"For us to stand on our own feet, we need alliances… It's best to have those alliances regulated, and this is a regulated attempt to conduct our matters in a manner that we know what to expect," said Sultanzoy.
 
Sultanzoy also pointed out that the United States has similar security deals with other countries.
 
"The United States has such deals with Japan and Germany and Korea, so why not for Afghanistan? That is something - but the people of Afghanistan do not know about that and nobody has talked about it, and Mr. Kerry, erroneously I think, mentioned that 'we have no such deals with any other country' - that is not true. We have Afghans who know that that is not true, so the U.S. has those kinds of deals with other countries, and why shouldn't they treat Afghanistan the same way?" asked Sultanzoy.
 
The Loya Jirga is set to vote on the agreement on Sunday.
 

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid