Loya Jirga to decide on strategic ties with US
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Monday said his government would convene the traditional Loya Jirga within two or three months to decide whether to ink an agreement with the United States on strategic relations.
The US presented a drafted document two weeks ago to the Afghan government for strategic cooperation and the document was still under review, Karzai told at a press conference at his Palace.
"The government is investigating the draft and the issue has also been discussed in a meeting of National Security Council," he said.
"We have put our many conditions forward to them and we have tied up their hands and feet", the president said of his government conditions. One of the important conditions was bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan, he said.
"Conditions regarding US assistances, flawed operations and others which prevent Afghan government to strengthen and legalising foreign forces' presence are mentioned in the draft sent to US officials," he said.
He said they would agree to the agreement until their conditions were accepted. "If America wants relations with us, it should accept our conditions, which are logical," he said.
He said the traditional grand asselbly would soon be called into session to share opinions with the government about the draft.
The government was in the final stages of the US proposal, which will put the government in control of funding and national priorities, he said.
Afghanistan and USA agreed on Oct. 05, 2010 to prepare a draft regarding a long-term strategic cooperation between the two countries. Two strategic agreements on governance and security were signed in 2005 and 2008 between the two countries.
The president also said he was working to reform the beleaguered Kabul Bank, but that foreign advisers share a large part of the blame for the country's banking crisis and will face criminal investigation along with the bank managers and shareholders.
The largest private lender last year nearly collapsed under allegations of mismanagement, cronyism and questionable lending.
Karzai said all bank shareholders had been removed and those not returning lent funds will face criminal investigation.
However, he also blamed the crisis on international advisers who issued reports saying the bank was functioning normally. The government is investigating these outside advisers and auditors and will follow up any indications of misconduct with a criminal trial, he said.
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