KABUL – Presidential candidate Mohammad DuadSultanzoy on Monday warned that a delay in concluding the bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the US could trigger economic problems and unemployment in Afghanistan. Sultanzoy told reporters in Kabul the security deal with Washington should be signed as soon as possible in the larger national interest.
A Loya Jirga in November overwhelmingly endorsed the security deal and asked President Karzai to sign it this year. But Karzai says he will not sign the deal until US forces stop raids on Afghan homes and pave the way for formal talks with the Taliban. US Secretary of State John Kerry, insisting on the early conclusion of the deal, has said it could be inked either by President Hamid Karzai or his successor.
Sultanzoy urged Karzai to respect the Loya Jirga’s decision that asked him to sign the BSA within next seven weeks. He said if the president had no intention to sign the agreement, why he convened the grand tribal assembly. “Now that the jirga has approved the accord, its decision should be respected.” Sultanzoy believed further delay in signing the agreement would result into increased economic problems and unemployment in the country.
“If I become the president, I would sign every agreement that protects the national interest and can bring about peace, stability, reconstruction and economic prosperity,” he said. He also warned that delaying the agreement would result into increased interference in Afghanistan from neighbouring countries.
Sultanzoy said the coalition of disqualified presidential candidates “National Commitment for Saving Afghanistan” had doubts about transparency in the April elections. Sultanzoy was among 17 presidential hopefuls dropped from the IEC’s preliminary list. But he had been able to be reinstated as a result of thoroughgoing investigation into documents of the candidates.
He said the government should assure the coalition that the vote would be transperant and fraud-free, otherwise they would call for the creation of a special body to monitor the voting process. He said if the BSA was signed it would legalise the presence of foreigners and prevent them from interfering into the election process. (PAN)