No troops post-2014 absent a signed BSA: US
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): There would be no US troops or that of the NATO countries in Afghanistan without a bilateral security agreement (BSA), the White House said Thursday, renewing its call on President Karzai to sign the deal as soon as possible.
“There will be no US or NATO troops beyond 2014,” the White House Press Secretary, Jay carney, told reporters at his daily news conference.
“If there’s not a BSA signed we would have no choice but to initiate planning for a post-2014 future in which there would be no US or NATO troops on the ground in Afghanistan. We simply can’t have that absent a signed bilateral security agreement,” he said in response to a question.
The Obama Administration and NATO, he said, are beginning to make assessments and plans for 2014. “Those decisions have to be made promptly, and they have to be with or without a signed bilateral security agreement. They can’t wait well into 2014,” he said.
“So every day that passes, the further we get into this year, the harder it is to plan in any other way except with the expectation that a bilateral security agreement would not be signed. We do not prefer that outcome. We do not think that is the best policy. But we simply can’t plan for or have US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 without that agreement signed,” Carney said.
“The issue isn’t a future government, the issue is it has been negotiated with Afghan government, it has been endorsed by the Loya Jirga. It needs to be signed. We cannot act to plan for a 2014 presence that would be for a new mission focused solely on counterterrorism and the training and support of Afghan troops, absent a signed BSA,” Carney said.
Earlier in the day, the NATO Secretary General said it will not conclude or sign its SOFA with Afghanistan until there’s a completed US-Afghanistan BSA. “When I stand up here and say not signing our BSA, it has huge ripple effects of impacts, including planning with our partners,” the State Department Deputy Spokesperson, Marie Harf, told reporters at her daily news conference.
“Obviously, there’s no hard deadline, but it needs to be signed as soon as possible, and our position continues to be that if we cannot conclude a BSA promptly, we will initiate planning for a post-2014 future in which there would be no US and no NATO troops presence in Afghanistan,” she said.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.