Meet our terms for BSA signing, Karzai tells US
KABUL (PAN): Showing little flexibility, President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday said that the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) could not be signed unilaterally, asking the United States to consider the Afghan government’s demands as well.
“We consider this agreement to be in the interests of Afghans. But our condition is to ensure the protection of Afghan homes. The Americans should stop attacks on Afghan homes. Another condition is peace in Afghanistan. If we don’t have peace, this agreement will turn into a disaster...”
In an interview with Radio Liberty, the president said he fully respected the consultative Loya Jirga’s decision on the issue, but disagreed with the US condition that the accord must be signed by the end of the current year.
In response to a query, the president said he had demanded an end to all American attacks on Afghan homes and the beginning of a realistic peace process. Whenever the Americans met the two demands, he was willing to sign the BSA, he explained
Karzai said that in line with a Loya Jirga recommendation, he had asked US National Security Advisor Susan Rice for the release of all Afghans from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba. He once again made clear that selective approval of the jirga recommendations was unacceptable.
“If you look at the 29th clause of their recommendations, it says that America should release all Afghan prisoners at Guantanamo Bay immediately and hand them over to Afghanistan. So if the Americans want to implement the recommendations of the Loya Jirga…then they cannot ignore this.”
The president said he had briefed Rice on the situation during the previous presidential election and how America and other Western nations interfered in the 2009 ballot. As the president of Afghanistan, he said he was duty-bound not to allow foreigners either to malign Afghanistan's next presidential election or stretch the process.
“She assured me that this time there will be no interference in our election. So for now, I have her assurance. But I am watching them to see whether they interfere in the election or not. And I will talk about it then,” the president continued.
About the zero option, Karzai said: “The Americans have their own agenda and their own plans…But we Afghans need to have our own plans. We showed the Americans that Afghanistan wants friendship and an alliance with them. We are not against them...”
When reminded that a delay in signing the agreement could imperil global aid pledges, he replied it was up to the Americans whether they wanted to stay in Afghanistan or leave. “Even if we sign a thousand agreements with them, if it doesn't suit their interests, they will leave -- just as they left Afghanistan alone in 1990s during the years after jihad.”
Commenting on the situation in Afghanistan, he once again blamed the US and Pakistan but also acknowledged the Afghan government’s weaknesses and mistakes. All major terrorist havens were in Pakistan, a fact acknowledged by the US, he claimed.
“The American newspapers have repeatedly reported that US contracts strengthen some of the armed factions. So why are they giving these contracts out? Six or seven years ago, I had a strong disagreement with the United States over these private companies. Who were these private security firms and why was I against them?
“These security companies were all of those people who were supported by the Americans and trained by them and who were being given up to $2 billion a year. And they were employed to protect American supply convoys. But in reality, they were a major cause for insecurity.”
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