Respect jirga decision on BSA, senators ask president
KABUL (PAN): Some members of the Meshrano Jirga -- or the upper house of parliament -- on Sunday asked President Hamid Karzai to ink the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US instead of seeking defence cooperation from India.
Currently on a four-day state visit to India, Karzai told reporters in New Delhi on Saturday he was satisfied with the defence cooperation India was offering his country.
"India is not shying away from providing assistance to Afghanistan. In terms of India's support to Afghanistan in military equipment and training, facts are much better than you hear in the press," the president said.
But Senator Ali Akbar Jamshedi, speaking in the upper house, believed Karzai would be better advised in endorsing the decision of last month’s consultative Loya Jirga on the security pact with the US.
“America and other Western nations are more capable than our neighbours of equipping and training Afghan security forces,” said the legislator from central Daikundi province.
President Karzai, staying firm on his conditions for signing the BSA, has rejected the Obama administration's threat of a total military pullout from Afghanistan as brinkmanship.
He has made clear he would not ink the security pact until the Americans stopped raiding civilian homes and publicly entered peace negotiations with the Taliban.
The senator urged parliament to mediate between the US and Karzai and thereby pave the ground for signing of the deal that the president says will be inked after the April 2014 presidential elections.
His colleague Hidayatullah Rihayee also called for the government to seek military cooperation from the US instead of India. A delay in signing the agreement would lead to security and economic problems, he warned.
“The longer President Karzai delays signing the deal, the happier the Taliban and other insurgent groups will be,” remarked the public representative from central Bamyan province.
Senate Chairman Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, who did not say anything specifically about the BSA, believed that the president should respect the consultative jirga’s decision.