Wolesi Jirga members oppose Loya Jirga on BSA
KABUL (PAN): Convening a Loya Jirga on the bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the United States is illegal and the deal may lead to negative consequences for Afghanistan, some parliamentarians warned on Saturday.
A Wolesi Jirga (lower house) member from central Daikundi province, Sadeqi Neelizada, insisted that signing the accord, many of whose contents had already been agreed, was not in the interest of Afghanistan.
The MP said: "After the agreement is concluded, American troops will have bases in some parts of the country and remain in Afghanistan over the longer haul." As a result, militants would continue to justify and intensify their armed struggle.
Sensitive to the deal providing for a US military presence, regional spy networks would step up meddling in Afghanistan, the lawmaker said, fearing that Afghan soil could be used against neighbouring countries.
His colleague Asadullah Saadati said under international law bilateral pacts had to be signed between governments, which must avoid convening jirgas that had no legal basis. In the given situation, he insisted, there was no need for calling a Loya Jirga into session.
Saadati explained: "Under the strategic partnership agreement, which has already been inked with US, the BSA has to be concluded. This doesn't warrant convening a Loya Jirga..."
But other members held the view that BSA was in the interest of Afghanistan and calling the consultative assembly on the issue was a presidential prerogative. Saleh Mohammad believed Afghanistan should pursue its own interests without caring about regional concerns.
Signing the pact was Afghanistan's requirement, he insisted: "We need a strong ally like the United States in the prevailing circumstances."
Over the past two years, the two sides have been negotiating the BSA that will detail a US military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when most international combat soldiers are scheduled to leave.
In the next few weeks, 2,500 public representatives, tribal elders, religious scholars and academics are expected to gather in Kabul to debate the BSA and advise the government on whether or not to sign it.
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