Kabul clings to terms for strategic deal with US
KABUL (PAN): Afghanistan would not ink the proposed strategic agreement with the United States as long as recommendations of the traditional Loya Jirga were not implemented, a presidential spokesman said on Saturday.
In mid-November, the grand assembly recommended the signing of the pact that allows the creation of American bases in the country for a decade. However, the delegates set certain conditions, including respect for Afghanistan’s sovereignty and an end to night raids by foreign forces.
During an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, President Hamid Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi acknowledged that the government was under mounting pressure to wrap up the accord before the Chicago Conference, scheduled for May 12.
Faizi promised the strategic pact would be signed only when the Loya Jirga’s suggestions, including the transfer of all prisons to Afghan control, were accepted by the US. The government was not opposed to the agreement, but demands of the jirga had to be met, he explained.
He said the Afghan people and government reserved the right to set conditions for the agreement. It is a long-term pact, which needs to be signed after thorough deliberations, according to Faizi.
The spokesman said President Hamid Karzai would not bow to foreign pressures in this regard and attach importance to the national interest and the decisions taken by the Jirga.
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