The sooner the better, agree forum members
KABUL (PAN): A number of influential delegates taking part in the consultative Loya Jirga on Saturday asked the government to respect the majority decision and sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) before the April elections.
In his speech to the inaugural session of the forum on Thursday, President Karzai had said he would not sign the BSA, even if approved by the Loya Jirga and ratified by the parliament, until the elections were held transparently and mistakes of past polls avoided.
On Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Karzai all American soldiers would be withdrawn from Afghanistan next year if the security agreement was not signed by the end of 2013.
They are discussing the text, according to an official of the preparatory commission, who said members' suggestions would be noted by committee heads until 8pm before being presented to the jirga chairman on Sunday before noon.
One of the participants, Gul Agha Sherzai, a presidential candidate said the agreement met Afghanistan's security and economic needs, calling for the deal to be signed forthwith.
The former governor of Nangarhar province told Pajhwok Afghan News his request to President Hamid Karzai would be showing a respect to the Loya Jirga’s decision and signing the pact soon after it was accepted by the grand assembly and ratified by the Parliament.
Farida Hamidi, who represents Nimroz province in the forum, said the BSA should be signed before next year’s elections for the sake of continued international assistance to Afghanistan because foreign aid had been tied to signing the accord.
An influential from Takhar province said Karzai should sign the agreement in the larger interest of Afghanistan.
Former president and consultative Loya Jirga chairman, Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, also opined the BSA should be signed before the presidential vote. Some major political parties have also called for the agreement to be signed at the earliest.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.