Senate supports Loya jirga on security pact
A day earlier, President Hamid Karzai insisted on the acceptance of his government’s conditions, indicating a Loya Jirga would be called in a month’s time to discuss the 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.
Participating in a Senate debate on BSA, a public representative from central Bamyan province said Afghanistan was currently going through a sensitive phase and needed a strong international ally like the US.
Hidayatullah Rihayee accused neighbouring countries of opposing stability and seeking to implement their nefarious designs in Afghanistan. He called convening the Loya Jirga a positive move by the government.
His colleague from western Farah province, Gul Ahmad Azimi, believed Afghanistan was faced with tough economic and security challenges. The Loya Jirga should discuss these problems, as well as the security accord.
Another senator from southeastern Khost province, Arifullah Pashtun, also supported signing the BSA, which was in Afghanistan’s interest in the prevailing circumstances. His view was shared by a number of other lawmakers.
But Senator Abdul Hanan Haq Wayoon warned convening the Loya Jirga in the present situation would not be a wise move. “The jirga will be comprised of government figures and supporters. A forum without public representatives will make little sense.”
Provincial council members and parliamentarians, who have stood down to contest next year’s elections, will not be able to attend the traditional tribal gathering.
Haq Wayoon suggested the text of BSA, after was formally signed, should be sent to the parliament for study and approval.
On Tuesday, Karzai 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.
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