News / Asia

Karzai Shows No Indication of Signing Security Agreement

Afghan President Shows No Indication of Signing Security Agreement With Washingtoni
X
March 01, 2014 2:54 AM
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has not yet agreed to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement [BSA] with the United States. The agreement would determine the scope of activity for American troops in Afghanistan after 2014. Karzai has been a U.S. ally for more than a decade -- but in the waning days of his presidency, he has had disagreements with Washington on several issues, including the signing of the BSA. VOA’s Kokab Farshori looks at the reasons behind the Afghan president’s refusal to sign the agreement.

Afghan President Shows No Indication of Signing Security Agreement With Washington

Kokab Farshori
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has not yet agreed to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement [BSA] with the United States. The agreement would determine the scope of activity for American troops in Afghanistan after 2014. Karzai has been a U.S. ally for more than a decade -- but in the waning days of his presidency, he has had disagreements with Washington on several issues, including the signing of the BSA.

U.S. combat troops are drawing down from Afghanistan as planned. But the other part of the plan -- to leave some U.S. and NATO forces behind for training and peacekeeping missions -- is still unclear.  

That's because the Afghan government has so far refused to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement, or BSA. Karzai’s office has said he wants U.S. assurances that it will play a key role in peace talks with the Taliban and stop nighttime raids on Afghan homes.  

Neither reason is legitimate, said Peter Tomsen, a former U.S. envoy to Afghanistan. "I think there is a smokescreen because he knows that the United States cannot force Pakistan to force the Taliban to negotiate honestly. On the night raids, we have done everything we possibly can," he said.

Scott Smith, with Washington’s U.S. Institute of Peace, has a different view of Karzai's motivation. "He has had several frustrations that for him are real and visceral. One of them is what he sees as violation of sovereignty. House raids, civilian casualties by international military forces. I think part of his explanation of his attitude on BSA is an accumulation of being ignored on this issue despite the fact that he has raised them repeatedly," said Smith.
   
VOA’s Akmal Dawi was recently in Afghanistan -- interviewing the leading candidates in the upcoming presidential election and also taking the pulse of the Afghan people.

"There is a widespread perception that this agreement is crucial for the future of Afghanistan. That after 2014, Afghan forces alone, without international support, would not be able to stave off the insurgency," said Dawi. "That’s why they believe that signing the bilateral [agreement] and also another agreement with NATO will secure the future of Afghanistan from a possible Taliban takeover.

But if this agreement is so important for the Afghan people, then why is President Karzai not signing it?

"He was raised up to the level of leadership by the United States," said former U.S. envoy Tomsen. "And Afghans look at foreign-selected leaders in a negative light. So, he still has that cloud hanging over him as he leaves office and he would like to push back on that."

Other experts believe Karzai is unwilling to sign the agreement because he may want to remain relevant in the decision-making process until the very end.

"The BSA is the last thing that he has to offer the U.S. and the international community," said Smith. "So, to some degree, when he signs the BSA, he is signing his resignation from the presidency. So, I think he wants to hold on to that as long as possible."

Many experts are sure an agreement between Washington and Kabul will be signed. If not by this Afghan government, then by the next one.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ebola Lockdown May Be Extended

Lockdown, which started Friday, aims to allow health workers to locate hidden Ebola patients, educate others on how to avoid the deadly disease More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: MikeBarnett from: USA
March 01, 2014 3:59 PM
China, Russia, and four of the "stans" in the SCO have agreed to watch Afghanistan after the US and NATO leave in 2014. China has a more pragmatic attitude to aid without demands for complete social and cultural revolutions before projects are built. Afghans also know that China has deeper pockets than the West with a faster rising economy. China's 2013 GDP growth rate was 7.7% compared to 1.9% in the US. That's 4 to 1 in favor of China, and Afghanistan wants that, too.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid