US hopes for signing BSA with new president
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The US is very hopeful of signing of bilateral security agreement (BSA) with the new Afghan president, the Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, told lawmakers on Wednesday.
“Congressman, as you know, the two finalists, one will be presumably the next president of Afghanistan. Either Dr. Abdullah Abdullah or Ashraf Ghani have both said and both reaffirmed that they, if elected president, one of the first things they would do is sign that bilateral security agreement,” Hagel said responding to a question during a Congressional hearing.
“I've seen nothing to change that. We've heard nothing to change that. I believe that commitment is firm from either one of them, from both of them, and they've made that commitment,” Hagel told members of the House Armed Services Committee, wherein he testified on swapping of Taliban prisoners to have Sgt Bowe Bergdahl released from the Taliban captivity.
Hagel said the Afghan government was not kept in the loop on this issue before the release of Sgt Bergdahl, who was kept in the Taliban captivity for nearly five years.
According to the Defense Secretary, the five Taliban detainees who were released from Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention center, should these five detainees return and reintegrate with the Taliban, their focus would almost certainly be on Taliban efforts inside Afghanistan, not the homeland, the United States.
“A few new Taliban leaders, no matter how senior, will not appreciably change the threat to the Afghan people, to the Afghan Army, but most importantly for us, to our forces,” he said adding this was the assessment of the intelligence community.
Hagel said the future of Afghanistan depends on the Afghan Army and they have made considerable progress in the last years. “Afghanistan's future will depend more upon accepted outcome to the second round of presidential elections, how Afghan security forces perform against the Taliban over the next 18 months, and continued external donor support that would allow Kabul to fund civil and security functions,” he said.
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