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Grand Assembly on US security deal within a month: Karzai

By Ghanizada - Mon Oct 07 2013, 3:37 pm

KarzaiAfghan president Hamid Karzai on Monday said that a grand assembly (Loya Jirga) will be organized within a month to discuss the bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington.

While speaking during a press conference in Kabul, president Karzai said that the bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington should be signed considering the demands of the Afghan people and the national interest of the country.

This comes as Washington has increased pressures on the Afghan governemnt to finalize bilateral security agreement between the two nations, as the deadline for the withdrawal of all NATO combat troops is getting close.

US officials are expecting that the deal is finalized by the end of this month, whch will set out terms for the presence of US troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

However, bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington is threatened by disputes between Afghan and US officials, and there are fears that the agreement will be derailed if the issues are not resolved.

Presidential palace spokesman Aimal Faizi confirmed that Washington’s demand for unilateral and independent counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan beyond 2014 is one of the main disputes between the two nations.

Mr. Faizi further added that the Washington’s refusal on Afghan government’s demand to agree to wide-reaching promise to protect Afgahnistan from foreign aggression is the other main dispute between Afghan and US officials discussing bilateral security agreement.

Faizi said Washington’s demand regarding unilateral counter-terrorism operations are strongly against the sovereignty of Afghanistan.

The grand assembly (Loya Jirga) has been described as the “the highest manifestation of the will of the people of Afghanistan” in Afghan constitution where major decisions regarding the national issues are taken.

The Afghan government earlier announced the grand assembly will be organized to discuss the bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington, but the critics believe that other issue including presidential elections will also be discussed in the assembly, in a bid to turn the output of the elections in his favor.

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