Afghanistan in no rush to sign security agreement with US: Karzai
By Ghanizada - Sun Aug 25 2013, 9:44 am
Afghan president Hamid Karzai on Saturday said that the government of Afghanistan is in no rush to sign a bilateral security agreement with Washington setting out how many US troops will stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014, after NATO-led mission is over.
While speaking during a press conference, president Karzai said that the bilateral security agreement may even delay a decision after a presidential election and new government is formed.
This comes as United States has been putting pressure on Afghanistan to finalize the bilateral security agreement, and has Washington is even preferring to sign the pact by October this year.
Karzai said, “We are not in a hurry although the Americans asked the pact to be signed by October. If the document is agreed upon during this government, then it will be good, otherwise the next president can discuss whether to accept it or not.”
All the US troops will be drawn from Afghanistan, if the two nations failed to sign the bilateral security agreement. The collapse of the smilar pact between US and Iraq led to complete withdrawal of US troops after Iraq refused to provide immunity to US soldiers serving there.
However, NATO and United States are planning to keep a residual force in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to train and advise Afghan security forces, and carry out counter-insurgency operations.
ISAF commander, Gen. Joseph Dunford recently also said that he was adamant that the would be signed after he held talks at every level from district and province to members of the Afghan parliament.
According to reports, the US administration is considering to keep a smaller force fo 8,000 to 12,000 troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.