Talks on Security Pact Moving Forward: U.S.
Washington – Marie Harf, the Deputy Spokeswoman of the U.S. State Department, on Monday said that Washington and Kabul are moving forward to ink the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) that would roadmap the U.S. presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014. “We have made progress, but these kind of negotiations are complex in any country, as we know, from sort of the technical to the tough security issues,” Marie Harf told AFP.
According to Afghan officials who spoke to TOLOnews earlier this week, the two provisions of the security pact that remain contested are those related to defining what a “threat” is to Afghan national security and the parameters of U.S. unilateral operations post-2014. Dr. RanginDadfurSpanta, the Afghan National Security Advisor, assured those debates would be resolved soon.
“We always expected that there would be sticking points and bumps in the road that needed to be resolved at some point in the process,” Harf said.The comments from Ms. Harf came after President Hamid Karzai, at a press conference held in Kabul city on Monday, announced that the proposed Loya Jirga to decide on the fate of the BSA would be held in a month’s time.
“The people of Afghanistan are the rulers, the decisions of this country lie with the people of Afghanistan, so whatever the people of Afghanistan decide, the government will obey,” Karzai said at the press conference.
Washington has been pressing the Afghan government to ink the BSA as quickly as possible. But, the Afghan authorities made it clear that they will sign the agreement only if the U.S. accepts all the terms and conditions put front by Kabul. Given Karza’s most recent annoucement, it would appear that even if the Afghan demands are excepted, however, the ultimate decision on whether or not to go forward with the security pact will be up to the Jirga.There are around 100,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, out of which around 68,000 are Americans. (Tolonews)