Abdullah queries Karzai’s terms for BSA signing
KABUL (Pajhwok): Leading presidential candidate Dr Abdullah Abdullah on Sunday said that bringing peace to the country needed time, hinting at delay in signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US.
Addressing a press conference in Kabul, Abdullah regretted that President Hamid Karzai’s recent remarks on the BSA impasse had fuelled concerns among the masses.
Karzai has linked BSA signing to peace in Afghanistan, but meeting the condition would take a long time, Abdullah said, explaining that the goal of durable security could not be achieved soon.
He added the presidential stance had triggered capital flight from the country, increasing joblessness and creating multiple problems. “In private, Karzai has been consulting his close allies on how to deal with the challenges.”
If issues of national importance continued to be discussed behind the scenes, Karzai should take people into confidence, he observed, asking the president to serve the nation well during his remaining two months in office.
Also a former foreign minister, he said the consultative Loya Jirga in November had endorsed the BSA contents except the legal jurisdiction over the US troops staying in Afghanistan beyond 2014, he said.
But stability was an issue that concerned the Afghans themselves, remarked the National Coalition of Afghanistan leader, who tended to reject Karzai’s stance that foreigners alone could bring peace to the country.
As the US seeks early signing of the BSA, Karzai has set preconditions, including a stop to raids on civilian homes, holding of transparent elections and peace negotiations with the Taliban.
Abdullah opined if detainees were really being held illegally at the Bagram jail, relevant judicial organs should take measures to deal with the question, not a government-appointed committee.
Recently, 600 inmates were released from the Bagram jail by the Afghan Review Board looking into prisoner cases.
A day earlier, Karzai told a news conference that the Bagram prison was a Taliban-making machine, where innocent Afghans were jailed.
Regarding recent attacks in Kabul, Abdullah said there was no doubt the fact that the Afghan government was responsible for maintaining security across the country.
On January 17, Taliban militants launched a suicide attack against a high-end restaurant in Kabul, killing 21 people, including 13 foreigners. Today’s suicide attack left four people dead and more than 20 others wounded.
Regarding security of polling stations, Abdullah said the report needed be reexamined to make a clear distinction between secure and vulnerable election sites.
Based on a report from security organs, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) says 414 of the 6,845 polling sites in eleven provinces will remain closed on Election Day.
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