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Lawmakers Oppose Delay in BSA Signing

Lawmakers Oppose Delay in BSA Signing

KABUL: Some members of the Wolesi Jirga, the lower house of parliament, on Saturday alleged some individuals opposed the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States to protect their personal interests. A consultative Loya Jirga, involving thousands of tribal elders, lawmakers and government officials, approved the deal with a number of recommendations on November 24. The grand assembly urged the president to conclude the pact.

But President Hamid Karzai set conditions for signing the agreement, asking the US to support the peace process in a tangible manner, halt raids on civilian homes and help his administration conduct transparent elections. During Saturday’s session, legislator from Kabul NazifaZaki said Afghanistan needed a strong international partner in the prevailing circumstances. “Afghanistan can neither survive in isolation nor address all its problems on its own.”

Without naming anyone, she alleged some elements were averse to the conclusion of BSA. “Their opposition is essentially driven by the quest for petty personal gains. They are causing the country numerous problems.” Her colleague from central Panjsher province Zaheer Sadat also saw personal interest behind the delay in concluding the accord, providing for an American military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

“People are confused,” he remarked, saying the parliament should break its silence on the situation by clearing staking out its position. “The government should refer the BSA to the legislature,” he opined. MP from eastern Kunar province WagmaSapi accused the US of committing many hostile actions in Afghanistan, but supported signing the pact in the larger interest of country.

Farkhanda Zahra Naderi, another member from Kabul, stressed the need for signing the accord. “Our people are faced with multiple problems; the agreement must be signed.” She said many countries including Pakistan wanted the BSA to be concluded. Speaker Abdul RaufIbrahimi said he could not give his opinion as long as the BSA text was not sent to the lower house. “When it reaches us, the BSA will be debated clause by clause. I’m sure members’ decision will be driven by the national interest.” (PAN)

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