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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid