Baghdad shares failed experience on US deal with Kabul
Hoshyar Zebari, who arrived in Kabul on Monday, did not provide details of his talks with President Hamid Karzai after signing an agreement to facilitate pilgrimages to Iraqi religious sites.
However, he hinted that Iraq needed help from the US to overcome its security challenges following a wave of sectarian violence.
In 2011, the US and Iraq could not agree on terms of a similar security arrangement to keep American troops in that country and all US forces pulled out.
Sectarian violence has plagued Iraq ever since, and some fear Afghanistan could face similar destabilisation path without a continued US presence if Afghan forces cannot defend the country themselves.
Zebari’s brief visit came amid fresh tension with the United States following yet another flare-up with the Afghan government. Karzai’s office charged late on Sunday that American forces were not delivering fuel to some army and police units as part of an attempt to force the president to sign the security agreement.
The US-led international coalition immediately denied the allegations and said all fuel deliveries to the Afghan National Security Forces were being carried out normally.
Zebari said he shared “our expertise in signing the security agreement with the American forces” and added, “I think it was a very useful exchange of experience”.
Karzai has endorsed a long-delayed Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States but repeatedly refused to sign it and instead deferred its signature to his successor after next April’s presidential elections.
The US says it wants the deal signed by the end of next month and has threatened to make plans for a complete withdrawal after a NATO mandate expires at the end of 2014 if it is not. America’s NATO allies have also said they will not keep troops here to train and mentor Afghan forces if the US leaves.
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