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Karzai, Kerry inch closer to deal on night raids

Karzai, Kerry inch closer to deal on night raids

Nov 19, 2013 - 22:27

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday floated two suggestions to US Secretary of State John Kerry on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Kabul and Washington.

The chief presidential spokesman said that Karzai spoke with Kerry over the telephone on a major sticking point in the security pact concerning night raids by American troops in post-2014 Afghanistaninfo-icon.

Speaking to a select group of reporters, Aimal Faizi said the president had floated two suggestions -- the US should either sign the deal with his predecessor or Kerry himself should attend a consultative Loya Jirgainfo-icon on the subject.

Karzai asked Kerry to convince members of the jirgainfo-icon, which is scheduled to convene in Kabul from Thursday to Saturday, into approving the idea that US forces be allowed to conduct night raids under special circumstances.

In response to the first presidential proposition, according to Faizi, Kerry made clear the US was interested in wrapping up the pact with the sitting Afghan administration -- not with the future government.

Regarding Karzai’s second suggestion, the secretary said President Barack Obama was willing to hold out a written guarantee to the Afghan government that US soldiers would not repeat past mistakes.

Obama’s letter, agreed by both sides, would be attached to the BSA text and placed before jirga participants for a decision, Faizi said, adding Kerry had acknowledged American forces’ repeated mistakes in past offensives.

Also on Tuesday, the spokesman said, Karzai discussed the BSA with US Ambassador James B. Cunningham and International Security Assistance Force (ISAFinfo-icon) Commander Joseph F. Dunford.    

With regard US troops’ immunity, another contentious point between the two sides, Faizi said the Afghan government’s stance had been clear on the issue. The jirga would take a decision on it, he concluded.  



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