News / Asia

Afghan Leaders Consider US Security Deal

Members of the Afghan Loya Jirga attend a gathering in Kabul, Nov. 21, 2013.
Members of the Afghan Loya Jirga attend a gathering in Kabul, Nov. 21, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Sharon Behn
— The Afghanistan president said Thursday that he is backing a bilateral security deal reached with the United States that could see U.S. forces in Afghanistan through 2024 and perhaps longer.

In an impassioned speech to 2,500 tribal, community and elected leaders, Afghan President Hamid Karzai defended a bilateral security agreement reached with Washington, saying it would benefit Afghanistan in the long run.

Saying he had the support of Afghanistan’s major allies and neighbors except Iran, Karzai encouraged the assembly, known as the Loya Jirga, to vote for the security pact.

But in what could be a potential sticking point with the U.S., Karzai said if the Jirga approves the document and the Afghan parliament then votes in favor of the deal, the agreement "might be signed" after the April 2014 presidential elections.

Washington pushed back after Mr. Karzai made his comments. 

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said failure to finalize an agreement within the coming weeks “would prevent the United States and our allies from being able to plan for a post-2014 presence” in Afghanistan.

The deal is due to take effect in January 1, 2015, and will keep American troops and civilian personnel in Afghanistan for at least another decade and possibly even longer.

“Without friendship nothing is possible," Kazai told the Jirga, speaking in a mix of Pashto and Dari. "When a person stands alone, he will end up under the feet of others, as we once were. It is said that a leader is only a leader thanks to his friends, but only if you have good friends. We don’t want a weak friendship.”

Under the terms of the deal, U.S. forces will no longer conduct combat operations in Afghanistan. Their mission will be to train, assist and equip Afghan security forces, and to try and ensure terrorist networks do not use the country as a base of operations.

The deal, reached between Washington and Kabul in the early hours of Thursday, must now be approved by members of the Jirga, who come from around the country. They are gathered under heavy security in the capital.

Although the role of the Jirga is purely an advisory one, their backing of the security pact is seen as politically important.  The final vote lies in the hands of the Afghan parliament.

Karzai read to the gathering a letter he said came from U.S. President Barack Obama in which the American leader said U.S. forces would only forcibly enter Afghan homes under “extraordinary circumstances involving urgent risk to life and limb of U.S. nationals.”

The issue of U.S. raids had held up the entire bilateral agreement until just hours before the Loya Jirga opened Thursday.

  • Members attend the Loya Jirga in Kabul, Nov. 21, 2013.
  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during the first day of the Loya Jirga in Kabul, Nov. 21, 2013.
  • Members of the Afghan Loya Jirga attend a meeting in Kabul, Nov. 21, 2013.
  • Members of the Afghan Loya Jirga attend a gathering in Kabul, Nov. 21, 2013.
  • International Security Assistance Force Commander General Joseph Dunford leaves from the Loya Jirga after its opening ceremony in Kabul, Nov. 21, 2013.
  • A police officer keeps watch at a vantage point overlooking the Loya Jirga tent in Kabul, Nov. 21, 2013.

Karzai said eventhough he has a rocky relationship with the United States, Washington’s support is central to Afghanistan’s future.  He added that 10 years working experience showed him that peace is in U.S. hands and Afghans want peace and security.

During the past decade, the Afghan leader has frequently criticized the United States, while Washington officials have expressed frustration that American sacrifices in Afghanistan have not always been recognized.

The Jirga members, including legal experts, religious scholars, intellectuals and activists, are expected to spend four days going over the details of the agreement.  Karzai called on them to think of the needs of their country while making their decision. He added that he does not have a personal representative in the gathering and that his only representative is national consensus on the interests and needs of Afghanistan.

One of the more contentious points in the document is the question of legal jurisdiction.  The agreement states U.S. forces will not be arrested or detained by Afghan authorities, nor unilaterally transferred to an international tribunal.

Instead, any wrongdoing will be judged by U.S. authorities. However, the Afghan authorities would be able to demand that particular personnel be removed from the country.

Under the deal, the United States also pledges to seek funds on a yearly basis to support the Afghan national defense forces.  It also allows the  U.S. forces to have bases in Kabul and Bagram in the center of the country along with outposts in key strategic areas elsewhere in the country.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: thomas parmalee from: myrtle beach
November 22, 2013 8:04 AM
Yes great idea we have seen such a change in the Muslim portion of the world such unity in Syria and Egypt when we as American forces touched ground in Afghanistan we secured oli fields and poppy fields under careful american watch their country is now producing 90% of the worlds heroin trade kinda funny right we give guns to Mexican drug cartels to hahaha not a war on terror fueling Americans drug habit


by: ali baba from: new york
November 21, 2013 3:05 PM
how much money to give them? why we are not use that money for social security or better health care.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
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