Top democrat chides Obama for begging Karzai
WASHINGTON (PAN): A powerful US lawmaker on Thursday urged President Barack Obama to stop insisting President Karzai sign the security deal and wait till his successor is chosen in next year’s presidential elections.
In a letter to Obama, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Senator Carl Levin argued signing BSA with the next Afghan president would give greater confidence.
This is for the first time a top Democrat Congressman has taken a line other than that pursued by the Obama Administration, which has been asking the Karzai government to sign the BSA as soon as possible.
“Public demands that President Karzai sign the agreement by the end of the year, or the recent suggestion that we could settle for less than an Afghan president approving the agreement, contribute to President Karzai’s mistaken belief that the United States needs Afghanistan more than Afghanistan needs the United States,” Levin wrote in the letter to Obama.
“Instead, we should tell President Karzai that if he chooses not to sign the BSA, we will await the next president of Afghanistan who will be elected in April,” he said.
“The next Afghan president, whoever he is, is also likely to be more reliable than President Karzai, and there would be greater confidence in his sticking with an agreement he has signed,” wrote Levin, who in October made his 12th trip to the country.
“The United States would need to engage in prudent military planning for the possibility that the BSA is not signed until next April, or the possibility that the BSA is not signed at all, in which latter case all US troops would have to be pulled out of Afghanistan,” he said.
NATO was already engaged in planning for all options, including a zero option, he said, adding that they should be clear, however, that such planning was not intended as a threat, but rather was the responsible actions of their civilian and military leaders.
Remain supportive of an enduring partnership between the United States and Afghanistan based on mutual respect as sovereign nations, Levin said he was encouraged by the overwhelming endorsement by the Loya Jirga of the BSA and their call for President Karzai to sign the agreement before the end of the year.
In the letter, Levin expressed his concerns about US insistence on having Karzai sign the BSA by the end of the year.
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