U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice says the United States will not apologize to Afghanistan for mistakes made during the Afghan war.
Rice's comments late Tuesday came after a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he was expecting a letter of apology from President Barack Obama as part of the negotiations for a new security agreement between the two countries.
U.S. officials acknowledge that Karzai requested an apology letter during a telephone conversation with Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday. But Rice told CNN television Tuesday that there is "no need" for the United States to apologize to Afghanistan. She said the United States has sacrificed and supported Afghanistan in its democratic progress and in fighting insurgents and al-Qaida.
The conversation between Karzai and Secretary Kerry came ahead of a planned meeting of Afghan leaders on Thursday, in which they may approve a deal that would allow a limited number of U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan to train security forces after the 2014 withdrawal of most NATO troops.
Karzai's spokesman said Tuesday the United States has agreed to not let its forces raid and search the homes of ordinary Afghans under the proposed security agreement.
But State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said while there has been "some progress" toward resolving outstanding issues in the security agreement, the U.S. and Afghanistan are "not there yet."
Searches of Afghan homes by U.S. forces had emerged as a sticking point in negotiations and threatened to derail the Bilateral Security Agreement, which will govern the presence of forces in Afghanistan after most foreign troops leave next year.
Around 2,500 delegates, including members of parliament, provincial government officials and representatives of civil society will attend the three-day loya jirga in Kabul this week.
Kabul remains on high alert with offices closed and dozens of checkpoints set up along the route leading to the site of the gathering.
A car bomb near the site of the loya jirga killed more than 10 people on Saturday.