Agreement reached on BSA language
KABUL/WASHINGTON (PAN): Afghanistan and the United States and have reached agreement on the final language of the bilateral security agreement (BSA), which is being placed before the Loya Jirga for approval today, officials said.
In Kabul, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the text of the security, promising immunity for US troops in post-2014 Afghanistan -- a proposition that the Afghan government had previously opposed.
The 22-page text is going to be placed before a four-day Loya Jirga that convenes in Kabul today. Around 2,500 public representatives, tribal elders, MPs and civil society representatives invited to the event will share their views with the government on the pact,
In Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry said refuted reports that an apology was part of his discussion with President Hamid Karzai. He said he was pleased to reached an agreement as to the BSA final language in a series of conversations with Karzai.
Kerry told a joint news conference with visiting Australian leaders the agreement was reached following a lengthy conversation between him and Karzai Wednesday night (Kabul time). He even had to cancel some of his other calls due his second conversation with Karzai in as many days.
The secretary of state denied reports that Karzai had sought an apology from the US on civilian casualties. “President Karzai didn’t ask for an apology. There was no discussion of an apology. It is just not even on the table...That is not the subject that we have been talking about.”
The two leaders discussed the terms of the BSA itself, providing an outline of the structure, the process by which ISAF and the United States forces themselves would be engaged in Afghanistan.
“It is a very limited role. It is entirely train, equip, and assist. There is no combat role for United States forces. And the BSA is an effort to clarify for Afghans and for United States military forces exactly what the rules are with respect to that ongoing relationship,” he said.
Kerry said it was important for Karzai to know the issues he had raised with the US for many years had been properly addressed and vice versa. The agreement would speak for itself when it was approved, he continued.
Earlier, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki hoped the Loya Jirga would approve the draft BSA agreement. She said the US was discussing the manner and format in which it would be giving assurances to Afghanistan as part of the agreement.
“As we think about our post-2014 plans, we still have in mind a commitment to training, advising, and assisting. There hasn’t been a decision made about troop presence, but that’s how we’ve discussed our post-presence; it’s reassuring that commitment, and also, as I mentioned, acknowledging past issues such as civilian casualties,” Psaki said.
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