News / Asia

Afghan-US Security Agreement Still Not Clear

U.S. troops, part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), arrive at the site of a suicide attack in Maidan Shar, the capital of Wardak province, Afghanistan, Sep. 8, 2013.
U.S. troops, part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), arrive at the site of a suicide attack in Maidan Shar, the capital of Wardak province, Afghanistan, Sep. 8, 2013.
Sharon Behn
Afghanistan’s president has called for an assembly of elders to discuss a draft bilateral security agreement with the United States. President Hamid Karzai says there is no rush in signing the pact, casting more doubt on the future of U.S. forces in the country after the planned NATO withdrawal in 2014.

Karzai has handed over the prickly question of signing a bilateral security agreement with the United States to a council of elders, or loya jirga, that he says will meet next month. The Afghan leader shrugged off concerns that the meeting will delay a decision on the security pact which would be crucial after international combat forces leave the country at the end of next year.

According to John Wood, of the Washington, D.C.-based Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, there are two main sticking points between the U.S. administration and Karzai.

"As I understand it, Mr. Karzai wants a very specific external security agreement or assurance, frankly something that would probably rise to the level of a treaty agreement in the eyes of the United States," he said.

Such a binding agreement would push Washington to protect Afghanistan from external aggression. This, says Wood, is a direction the Obama administration would not be likely take. Wood emphasized his opinions were his own, and did not necessarily reflect those of his organization.

And Karzai has his own concerns over U.S. demands. Wood says "the other sticking point, I believe, still revolves around the degree of autonomy that U.S. Special Operations Forces might have, or the CIA may have, to continue to operate independently and with no oversight or prior approval of the Afghan government."

Karzai on Monday lashed out at the United States and NATO forces in his country for conducting air raids and other operations that he said violate Afghanistan's sovereignty in the name of fighting terrorism. He said he would never permit that under the proposed Bilateral Security Agreement, or BSA.

"If the United States and its allies NATO continue to demand that even after signing of the BSA they will have the freedom to attack our people, our villages, the Afghan people will never allow them that," said Karzai.

Analysts in Kabul warn that not having an effective bilateral security agreement to back up Afghan forces after international forces leave could embolden the Taliban and other militant networks.

Former Afghan minister Hamidullah Farooqi says, "Taliban and other armed forces against Afghan government, they also are seeing an opportunity for themselves that 2014, [the] international community is leaving, they might feel they are going to be able to capture again the political power."

Farooqi believes a transparent and successful presidential election in April 2014 and a strong Afghan government will reverse that momentum.

Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, who until September 30 was a member of the Afghan negotiating team, told VOA that the security talks are taking into account the needs of every Afghan constituent group. He says the agreement is shaping into a very balanced, if not necessarily long-term binding one.

"It is a fully worked out, detailed set of understandings between two governments. Second, the duration is 10 years," he said. "Three, each government has a process for changing the agreement. So, it’s not that this government is binding the future government categorically."

But some analysts and Kabul residents are worried. They say the Taliban is swiftly moving into more villages across the country, running protection rackets and extortion rings to finance their actions. And one former Afghan military official said the country's fledgling army is facing a disheartening rate of desertions.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid