Progress Made, But Still no Clear Signing Date for BSA: Spanta
KABUL – Dr. RanginDadfarSpanta, the National Security Advisor to President Hamid Karzai, in an exclusive interview with TOLOnews on Sunday said that the government has not yet decided on a fixed date for signing the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the U.S. However, he assured most of the agreement was already finalized and hoped the rest would be ironed out soon.
“It is a complex agreement, the signing might happen within a week, 10 days, a month or some time later. We are waiting for the President’s and Loya Jirga’s confirmation,” Dr. Spanta said. He went on to explain that 95 percent of the agreement was already agreed upon, and only a couple of items still needed to be hashed out.
The lead Afghan negotiator’s comment have come after a number of U.S. officials have pressed the Afghan government to move forward with the agreement as soon as possible. Back in July, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry set a tentative October deadline. However, Afghan officials rejected this timeline at the outset, saying the signing of the agreement depended on the U.S.’ willingness to address their concerns. Since then, officials from both countries have assured that negotiations are in the final stage.
“We have not agreed upon two important provisions, and President Karzai also emphasized these points in the past few days,” said JananMosazai, the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Specifically, negotiations are said to be hung up on the issues of defining what constitutes a “threat” to Afghanistan’s national security and the parameters of U.S. unilateral operations.
U.S. officials, as well as many Afghan experts, are eager to see the BSA inked as anxieties about Afghanistan’s future after the end of the NATO combat mission in 2014 mount. The agreement is expected to designate the number and functions of U.S. troops that will stay in Afghanistan after the bulk of soldiers withdraw. (ToloNews)