Third-party involvement proposed
Hundreds of tribal elders, politicians, sitting and former parliamentarians and officials are discussing the agreement at the Loya Jirga, which entered a second day on Thursday.
Some participants supported the creation of US military bases in Afghanistan if the conditions set by the Karzai administration were met. Second day's proceedings began with the creation of dozens of committees.
Forty bodies were set up to thrash out political, economic and military aspects of the deal. Copies of the draft agreement were distributed to jirga members on the opening day, when President Hamid Karzai outlined his government's terms for the agreement.
Karzai said they were ready to sign the pact if the US stopped night raids and house searches, vowing the national sovereignty would be protected at all costs.
Ghulam Jilani Zwak, who heads the Afghanistan Research and Consultation Centre, said the US must provide a guarantee of meeting the promises it has held out in the draft pact.
"History shows the US never keeps its promises without its hands and feet being tied. It always goes by its own interests," Zwak said, adding the agreement should be signed only when America was compelled to honour its commitments.
Another political analyst, Abdul Sattar Sadat, said if the US violated the conditions set by the Afghan government, Kabul should have the right to declare the agreement null and void.
However, he believed the accord would help improve Afghanistan's security situation and there would be no need for night raids and house searches. He suggested the involvement of a third country or powerful organisation, saying the pact should be reviewed every five years.
"The US has currently military bases in 27 countries and the Afghan government should learn from the experience of these countries," he remarked. He also sought a pledge from the US that it it would not interfere in other countries' affairs from Afghanistan.
Ahmad Zia, a teacher of journalism at Kabul University, acknowledged the US had helped Afghanistan in areas of economy, culture and security. He believed Washington had been sincere so far in keeping its promises.
"Afghanistan and the US have not yet reached any agreement on night raids and house searches, therefore, such incidents are taking place," he said. He hoped the US would meet the Afghan government's conditions because its combat role in the war would end after 2014.
However, another political expert and a participant of the Loya Jirga, Mohammad Hassan Wolesmal, said the US had provided no guarantee of meeting the terms set by Kabul for signing the agreement.
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