News / Asia

Afghan Meeting Opens to Discuss US-Afghan Security Pact

Security Agreement Between Afghanistan and US Proposedi
X
November 21, 2013
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has negotiated a draft agreement with U.S. officials.

Security Agreement Between Afghanistan and US Proposed

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid