News / Asia

Karzai Stands Firm on Terms of US Presence

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Jan. 25, 2014.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in Kabul, Jan. 25, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
President Hamid Karzai says if the United States wants to leave Afghanistan it “can do it even today, may God be with them”, but he will not back down from his conditions to sign a key security pact with Washington that would allow American forces to stay in the country beyond 2014.  
 
The NATO-led combat military mission is ending in December and Washington needs the so-called bilateral security agreement (BSA) to be in place as soon as possible so a smaller American military presence in Afghanistan can continue counter-terrorism activities as well as advise and assist Afghan security forces. 
 
A traditional national assembly of Afghan elders and politicians also endorsed the security pact late last year. But President Hamid Karzai has since refused to sign the deal until the U.S. military ends raids against Afghan homes while chasing insurgents and helps Kabul in opening peace talks with the Taliban. 
 
Speaking to reporters in Kabul Saturday, the Afghan leader reiterated his demands.  “Until we are satisfied, he said, that the BSA will bringing positive results, signing the document will mean bringing repression to the country, its soil and the people,” he stated.
 
President Karzai said that "Afghanistan will never be ready to sign anything under pressure," adding that “no pressure, no threats and no psychological war against our people will force them to sign the BSA”. 
 
President Karzai also denounced the use of advertising, some paid for by the United States, advocating the BSA be signed. 
 
The United States has warned that it will be forced to end its military mission and cut financial assistance to Afghanistan without the BSA in place. President Karzai in his news conference again dismissed those warnings. 
 
The Afghan leader says that “if they (U.S. forces) are leaving, then Allah Hafiz to them [May God Be with them] and they can leave even today”. As far as Afghans are concerned, he added, they will survive. 
 
President Karzai openly questioned motives for the U.S. counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan. 
 
He said that if the United States wants to ally with Afghanistan, "they must explain their [anti-terrorism] policy and tell us who are they chasing, what do they want, and what is their target?” 
 
President Karzai added that U.S. officials have told him there are only up to 40 al-Qaida operatives left in Afghanistan that they want to eliminate. So, only for such a small number they have caused so much unrest, the Afghan leader asked. He claimed the Afghan forces can easily deal with them and capture them. 
 
He went on to harshly criticize a detention facility on the U.S.-run Bagram air field north of Kabul, condemning it as a “Taliban-producing factory” where he alleged that Afghans are tortured into hating their country.  
 
Karzai’s critical remarks came as President Barack Obama is preparing to make his State of the Union address on Tuesday. During a recent trip to Kabul, a group of key American senators had warned that in the absence of any progress on the BSA, the U.S. president will not be able to allocate future funds and forces for the Afghan mission. 
 
 
 

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs