‘Backlash if national interest compromised’
KABUL (PAN): Some consultative Loya Jirga participants, supporting the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US, on Tuesday warned the government of a severe backlash if the pact was found in conflict with the national interest.
Scheduled to get under way in Kabul from Thursday, the three-day assembly will feature around 3,000 public representatives, elders and experts who discuss the security pact and advise the government whether or not the deal should be signed.
The preparatory commission says arrangements for the holding the consultative tribal forum had been put in place and all participants are expected to reach the heavily-fortified central capital today.
Khan Ali Radmand, a representative of the National Coalition of Youth, told Pajhwok Afghan News the stability of the post-2014 political dispensation was reliant on the security agreement with the US. But the attendees were yet to receive the BSA text, he said, promising their suggestion would be driven by the national interest.
“As a participant, I believe the agreement is in the interest of Afghans. If it is not signed, the country will face many challenges. Afghan security forces will not be able retain their ability and strength,” Radmand said.
“A number of people misinterpreted the issue of immunity for US troops; it doesn’t mean they will go scot-free if they commit a crime. They will be tried under US law and the Afghan government will have the right to witness their trial.”
Mirza Rifat, another participant, said most of BSA contents were debatable but US troop immunity and unilateral operations were the major irritants. But the issue could be addressed, he thought.
A government source recently indicated disagreements existed on the ticklish question of night raids by US forces. As President Karzai is deadest against such raids, the US insists these are part of the anti-terrorism mission.
A legal expert, Rifat explained troop immunity was no issue but which side should have legal jurisdiction over erring soldiers was a matter of discord.
“All such deals take care of the interests of signatories. We are not concerned at all, because the pact will be in the interest of both countries,” he emphasized. If there was anything against Afghanistan’s interest, the jirga will bring it to the government’s notice, he said.
Recently, the two countries agreed on many parts of the pact but the question of “immunity for Americans” had been left to the Loya Jirga’s decision.
A youth representative from Paktika province, Rahim Lewal, stressed the BSA should be signed immediately to address the multiple problems facing the country.
Qasim Rahimi, a jirga representative from Ghazni province, hope the tribal assembly would be able to resolve differences between the sides.
“Fortunately, the US has met Afghanistan’s major conditions, including continued focus on strengthening local security forces and defending the country in the event of foreign aggression,” he concluded.
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