Immunity sans compromise on sovereignty: Karzai
Bu this US counterpart Barack Obama insisted it would be difficult for him to have American troops stationed in Afghanistan after the 2014 exit of foreign combat soldiers without some sort of immunity for them.
“I can go to the Afghan people and argue for immunity for US troops in a way that Afghan sovereignty will not be compromised, in a way that Afghan law will not be compromised…” Karzai told reporters at a joint White House news conference.
With negotiations on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) currently under way, Karzai said he understood the issue of immunity was of specific importance to the United States and Afghanistan.
He stressed equally important were the issues of sovereignty, detentions, the continued presence of international forces in Afghan villages and the very conduct of the war itself. All these questions have been addressed.
Obama insisted the US would not keep its troops in Afghanistan after 2014, without the kind of immunity arrangement that America had with other countries across the world.
“I've said to President Karzai that we have arrangements like this with countries all around the world. And nowhere do we have any kind of security agreement with a country without immunity for our troops.
“You know, that's how I, as commander in chief, can make sure that our folks are protected in carrying out very difficult missions. And so I think President Karzai understands that,” he remarked.
He believed it was fair to say that from his perspective, it would not be possible for the US to have any kind of troop presence post-2014 without assurances that they were in some way subject to the jurisdiction of another country.
Obama explained no decision had been made on the number of US troops to be kept in Afghanistan or the pace of a drawdown there . He is awaiting recommendations in this regard from the commanders on the ground,
Earlier in the day, the two leaders held a series of meetings at the White House, including one-on-one talks in the Oval Office. They also issued a joint statement, detailing the achievements in Afghanistan in recent years and the way forward.
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