Loya Jirga on BSA in a month: Karzai
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai, insisting on the acceptance of his government’s conditions, on Monday indicated a Loya Jirga would be called in a month’s time to discuss the Afghan-US bilateral security agreement.
Negotiations on the security pact with the US began a year ago, with the Obama administration saying in mid-September the deal could be clinched during the current month.
But Karzai, who said on September 17 that his government was in no rush for wrapping up the agreement, told reporters in Kabul on Monday the two sides had reached some understanding but several sticking points were yet to be addressed.
He once again made clear Afghanistan would sign the pact only when its conditions were met. “The Afghans want to be friends with the US and the West, but this friendship should guarantee the protection of our core national interests.”
While dilating on the national interest, he explained: “It’s our protection from the terrorist threat and Taliban attacks on the hand and from airstrikes by the American military and its allies on the other…”
He added Afghanistan’s demands also included respect for its sovereignty, strengthening of its armed forces and the country’s war-battered economy.
“While we are ready to reach agreement with the US, but they should realise this pact should not be at the expense of our security and freedom. Whenever they want, the Americans search our houses, detain our people and beat them,” the president observed.
Because of such acts, he argued, Kabul had not yet arrived at an agreement with Washington. If the Americans guaranteed Afghans’ dignity and security, the accord would be signed, Karzai said.
“The US must be clear about what aggression means. What does cross-border shelling mean? We have come under such attacks from neighbours, what has the US done for us?” the president asked.
Although neighbours had not sent their tanks warplanes to Afghanistan, they were infiltrating terrorists and suicide bombers into the country. He went on to say if terrorist attacks on civilians in different Afghan cities did not amount to terrorism and aggression.
In a month, a Loya Jirga would be convened to debate the content of BSA and suggest whether or not Afghanistan should sign the pact, he concluded.
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