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BSA to be Scrapped if Raids Continue: Karzai

AFGHANISTAN-POLITICS-PEACE-UNREST

KABUL – President Hamid Karzai on Sunday said he would consult with Loya Jirga and US leaders on amendments to the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) before signing the vital security pact. However, he gave no clear timeframe.  “We want the US to be sincere in implementing this important deal,” the president told the concluding session of the tribal assembly in Kabul, identifying peace and transparent elections as the main objectives behind the accord.

“Can we achieve this (goal) in a month’s time? If I sign this agreement and peace continues to elude the country, who will be held responsible?” Karzai asked after most of the 50 committees supported inking of the BSA before the April elections. In line with jirga recommendations, foreign troops could no longer raid and search civilian houses, the president said. “If they do, we will terminate the pact,” he warned.

Thousands of people had been massacred in the name of the war on Taliban and Al-Qaeda, he regretted, stressing the trail of murder and mayhem must end permanently.  Peace in Afghanistan remained in hands of America and Pakistan, the president reiterated. “It’s absolutely clear. With their cooperation, the objective can be realised,” he maintained.

If peace did not come about, the BSA would spell misfortune for Afghans, he observed, hoping the Americans would heed their recommendations for changes to the agreement to prevent a repeat of past mistakes. “We have won wars, but lost politically,” remarked the president, who tended to favour delay and caution in signing the agreement. However, he hastened to affirm his desire for friendly relations and cooperation with the global fraternity.

Karzai believed the security situation in Afghanistan continued to offer cause for concern. To substantiate the point, he pointed to a bomb blast in Jalalabad earlier in the day, killing two schoolchildren. Giving the Americans military bases was a hard decision that was inconsistent with Afghanistan’s pride, he acknowledged, “but we had to take it because of compulsions.”

Three days ahead of the grand tribal assembly in the capital began, the president recalled, he had spoken to US Secretary of State John Kerry, Ambassador James B. Cunningham and ISAF Commander Joseph Dunford.  “I asked the (US) ambassador why they are in a hurry. Why can’t the BSA be signed after 5 months? He hinted at the 2014 presidential polls going to a second round, reminding me of the previous polls,” Karzai told the delegates. (PAN)

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