News / Asia

US Senators Urge Afghan President to Sign Security Deal

U.S. Senator John McCain speaks during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 2, 2014.
U.S. Senator John McCain speaks during a news conference at the U.S. embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 2, 2014.
Ayaz Gul
A group of visiting U.S. senators met Thursday with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to urge him to sign a key bilateral security agreement without further delay. The lawmakers also warned the Afghan leader against releasing dozens of dangerous prisoners without putting them on trial, saying it would have a devastating impact on ties between the two countries.  

Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham were part of the visiting American delegation that held detailed talks with President Karzai to emphasize the need for urgently signing the bilateral security agreement.  
Senator Graham later told reporters in Kabul that progress on the pact is crucial before President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union speech to the American people.
 
“What is he going to tell the American people about Afghanistan?  If there is no bilateral security agreement signed, he cannot commit troops in the future and Congress cannot fund," Graham said. "So, time is running out.  We need to get this agreement done in a mutually beneficial way soon, or we will lose the opportunity to secure Afghanistan and we will have another Iraq in the making.”

The agreement would allow for a reduced U.S. military presence in Afghanistan after NATO ends its combat mission by the end of this year.  The troops would advise and train Afghan forces in addition to continue conducting counterterrorism operations.

President Karzai has refused to sign the accord unless certain conditions are met.  They include halting U.S. raids on Afghan homes and helping the Kabul government open peace talks with the Taliban.

Senator McCain told reporters that without the security deal, the United States would not be able to station its soldiers past 2014.
 
“I am confident from our conversation that the differences have been narrowed to a point where we could get them resolved in a very short time period," McCain said.
 
Senator Graham said his delegation also warned Mr. Karzai that the planned release of a group of 88 dangerous detainees from an Afghan prison would deal a blow to bilateral ties because it would violate agreements already in place to deal with these inmates.  

“There is much evidence to suggest a wrongdoing," Graham said. "Over 60 coalition forces have been killed as a result of actions by these 88 and 57 Afghans have been killed by the actions of these 88.  If this release goes forward, it would be undercutting the (Afghan) rule of law, it would be a major step backward and it would have an unbelievably negative impact on the future relationship between the American people and the Afghan government.”
 
The senator says the detainees must be put on trial in Afghan courts to let the judicial process decide their fate.  He says the United States hopes President Karzai will intervene to halt the release of the prisoners.

The Afghan president has created a special review committee to investigate and determine the fate of prisoners captured by Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces in counterterrorism operations.  The panel has recently set free more than 500 detainees, while it plans the release of the 88 in question from the Bagram prison north of Kabul.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid