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White House: Can no longer wait for BSA signingBy Lalit K Jha Dec 19, 2013 - 10:42
WASHINGTON (PAN): Any delay in the signing of the bilateral security agreement (BSA) would jeopardise the presence of US troops in Afghanistan post 2014, the White House warned on Wednesday, saying it could not wait any longer for further developments in Afghanistan.
"There is not time here. We cannot, as has been suggested, wait for further developments in Afghanistan. This was negotiated in good faith; the negotiation is over. There are no changes that are going to be made to that agreement,” the White House press secretary said.
Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference: "It can either be signed or not signed, and we believe the message is clear, emanating from Washington and from our representatives in Kabul, that it's time to sign this agreement."
The assessments that NATO had to make in early 2014 were going to happen and there was no time for waiting for this to be further considered, he said, adding the deal had been endorsed overwhelmingly by the Loya Jirga and it had been negotiated in good faith for quite a long time.
Carney said President Obama had made clear the remaining troop presence would be focused solely on counterterrorism and on the training and support of Afghan forces. The president was committed to winding down the war and America's direct engagement, he added.
"The president, when he reviewed our policy towards Afghanistan, it was noted that when you went to Afghanistan and talked to our representatives there, both military and civilian, and asked them what our policy was, you got different answers from everybody. And that was what we inherited," he said.
But Obama instituted a policy that the US was there to fight Al-Qaeda and help Kabul maintain stability so that Afghanistan did not become again a harbour for al terrorists who had the objective of attacking American citizens, he continued.
Carney said the US had made clear that the bilateral security agreement ought to be signed right away, as soon as possible. "We welcome the Loya Jirga’s overwhelming endorsement of the BSA and continued partnership with the United States, and we are prepared to sign the agreement..."