News / Asia

    US, Afghan Tensions Rise Over Security Agreement

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai leaves after the last day of the Loya Jirga, in Kabul, November 24, 2013.
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai leaves after the last day of the Loya Jirga, in Kabul, November 24, 2013.
    Security analysts in Kabul are warning of dire consequences in the region if Washington and Kabul cannot resolve a standoff over a key bilateral security agreement. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is refusing to sign the deal until next year, which Washington says could lead to a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces before the end of 2014.

    In Kabul there are growing worries that President Hamid Karzai's surprise refusal to sign the security pact with the United States could have dire consequences for the country's future.

    Mirwais Muqbil, from the Kabul-based political consulting group Hambastagi, says everybody is worried about Karzai's decision.

    “It's a disastrous step and it will have dire consequences on the political and social situation in Afghanistan," he said.

    The security agreement spells out terms under which an estimated 10,000 U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan to assist the government in its war against Taliban insurgents. It also involves billions of dollars worth of assistance to the Afghan security forces and Afghanistan's fledgling democratic institutions.

    During a meeting in Kabul on Monday, Karzai told visiting U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice he would not back down from his refusal to sign the agreement.
     
    Instead, the Afghan leader laid out new demands, including further assurances that U.S. forces would not raid Afghan homes and that America express a sincere commitment to help start stalled peace talks with the Taliban. He also reiterated his demand that the United States commit to ensuring free and transparent presidential elections in Afghanistan on April 5.
     
    In neighboring Pakistan, Political analyst Rasul Baksh Rais also is worried about Karzai's stance. He says Washington's so-called zero option, whereby no U.S. forces stay behind after 2014, would open the door to more violence.
     
    “If this deal is not signed, then jihadi militancy in Pakistan will increase, it will be on much larger scale, larger numbers of people will be moving into Afghanistan to fight along the Taliban, and I don't think they will stay in Afghanistan forever," Rais said. "They will also be coming back and pursuing the same agenda of jihad against the Pakistani state.”

    Afghan delegates listen to a speech from their committee chairman on the second day of the Loya Jirga, Kabul, Nov. 22, 2013.Afghan delegates listen to a speech from their committee chairman on the second day of the Loya Jirga, Kabul, Nov. 22, 2013.
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    Afghan delegates listen to a speech from their committee chairman on the second day of the Loya Jirga, Kabul, Nov. 22, 2013.
    Afghan delegates listen to a speech from their committee chairman on the second day of the Loya Jirga, Kabul, Nov. 22, 2013.
    On Sunday, the Loya Jirga, or council of tribal elders convened by Karzai endorsed the bilateral security agreement with the United States and called for the president to sign it immediately.

    Once signed, the accord would take effect January 1, 2015.

    All international combat forces in Afghanistan are scheduled to withdraw from the country by the end of 2014.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ABC
    December 11, 2013 12:40 AM
    Who US or NATO is asking pemission to stay! They did not take permission of Afgan president when they invaded. Why this drama now! If they feel their stay will be better for Afghan people then they dont need any permission or agreement. I think US and NATO is finding reason to leave Afganistan as they dont have interest and resources to spend in Afganistan. Karzai is a Puppet as he was always!

    by: John from: Australia
    November 27, 2013 5:30 AM
    One can only hope that Karzai sticks to his guns. All the troops out of Afghanistan, and no money to Afghanistan or Pakistan, is obviously the best possible result.

    by: JKF from: Great North (Canada)
    November 27, 2013 1:22 AM
    After ten years and thousands of lost NATO lives, with absolutely minimal nation building gains, there are no real valid or justifyiable reason to continue spending valiant lives and massive resouces on a gvmt and people that do not want to become a Westernized nation. The main objective for Karzai, in my opinion, is to extract more resources from the West, and not to modernize or seculatize Afghanistan. Given the massive increase in the output of the precursors for heroin, no real change has occured; if at all the Taliban and their associates continue to expand and increase their holdings in the drug trade. Not much good has come out of the NATO strategy to look the other way on the drug trade, or on tying the hands of their military forces. Afghanistan needs to develop and support their own, by themselves - sink or swim. US(NATO) cant' do miracles against the will of the gvmt/people of Afghanistan..

    by: AArky from: Ft Smith,AR
    November 27, 2013 12:22 AM
    The Generals and contractors who support them will kill to stay in Afghanistan. There are billions to be made from the fraud in all the contracts. $400 a gallon for gasoline to run the generators and Humvees to start. Afghanistan collects $1billion each year from taxes but yet many billions are carried out of the country every year by mostly Afghans. It's a sinkhole of corruption and the US hasn't got it right in 12 years. Bail out all the way, and let the Afghans sort it out.

    by: John from: USA
    November 26, 2013 3:34 PM
    USA and NATO get out Afghan right now, no more help this country for nothing. Let them defense itself. Go home now, USA, EU.




    In Response

    by: Barekzai
    November 27, 2013 5:32 AM
    Let me guess...you're either a Pakistani or a Talib puppet of theirs, right? ;)

    by: samuel from: florida
    November 26, 2013 11:14 AM
    Why continue giving these countries
    Our monies when we don't have to.
    Maybe we should keep our money to get rid of our deficit,and prepare ourselves for a stronger defence against those dummys.

    by: Anonymous
    November 26, 2013 10:51 AM
    we need to fix our own problems instead of wasting us dollars on somebody else .period
    In Response

    by: Mr. Marc from: Washington State
    November 26, 2013 8:38 PM
    I agree. Stop giving our money away! It is ridiculous how much the US gives to other countries. I think for humanitarian reasons, some help is OK. But, it is not OK to just give keep giving it away.
    In Response

    by: John Ayoub from: WINONA
    November 26, 2013 11:23 AM
    Absolutely correct, the money the US spends on other countries could solve all the problems in this country including the national debt. But we all know that big business makes money from the support of military actions overseas.

    by: Joe Weil from: San Diego
    November 26, 2013 10:50 AM
    Even this thieving thug, Karzai, is pushing Barry around. Domesticly Barry is the thug, attacking the constitution and inacting illegal laws that harm the people of the United States. However, Internationally he is viewd as a pusillaimous 12 year old punk who can be strong armed. Look at the backing down from Iran... Or the giving up on getting back the most damaging spy in U.S. history from Barry's brother from a different mother, Putin... or letting a group of terrorsts take out a U.S. Ambasador at will while being followed live in the White House situation room...just sayin'.

    by: Frank from: Florida
    November 26, 2013 10:29 AM
    Don't wanna sign?.....Well, see ya...wouldn't wanna be ya. Fight the Taliban on your own then!
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    November 27, 2013 5:21 PM
    All of you are so narrow minded ,,you all are just doing jobs doing persons ,,, dear you are not that good people to spend your billions of dollars on afghans .... It was your game and want to continue ,,, the money you have spent here not for the sake if afghans ,,, it's just your investment for the future ,,, in this area you have your becoming father china and Russia ,,,

    Pls don't say .... Stop saying we should stop the money ,,, to whom you have given the money ,,and from us is getting the money ....
    In Response

    by: Omar from: Afghanistan
    November 27, 2013 2:08 AM
    You american people are very stupid.... in fact we don't want US in our country US is begging us to let him stay here, but US does that indirectly to show that he is not interested. If your have the zero option then what are you waiting for do it ......? no there is no zero option at all US failed in our country not just trying to find a respectful way to get out of here but slowly and slowly. Our President clearly knows that US wont withdraw now and he is trying to implement his demands on US somehow. and US will have no choice but to accept all of them.. you people will be watching US paying us billions of $ for not good and of course that is waste of money and time, but we are not blame this is what US has to to itself, this how US wanted a corrupt government in Afghanistan so he can reach to its goals, but failed. this what US support war criminals in Afghanistan and put them on power in order to keep innocent Afghan civilians weak and not being able to rise there voice, get their lands, steal and put all their rights received from NATO and the US and put all that in their own pockets. this what US has done so far in Afghanistan.
    In Response

    by: TIM from: CINCY
    November 26, 2013 10:59 AM
    He's not fight with the Taliban. He's one of them. He's not going to fight with his own Jihad brothers. Best way, bring our men & women home. Waste of time and money to support him.

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