White House: Security deal needed before end of the year
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The White House said it is “imperative” that Afghan
authorities conclude a Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States before the
end of the year. White House spokesman Jay Carney told a news conference on
November 22: “The bottom line is that we need to conclude the agreement with
signatures between our two governments as soon as possible and certainly by the
end of the year.”
He said that failure to conclude the agreement by that point would make it impossible
for the United States and its allies to plan for a presence [in Afghanistan] post 2014.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai told a session of the Loya Jirga, or Grand Council, on
November 21 that the Bilateral Security Agreement might have to wait to be signed
until after Afghanistan’s presidential elections in April 2014.
But Carney said the U.S. had made an honest offer and emphasized that Washington
would not be revising the deal. He said, “It is our final offer.”
The Bilateral Security Agreement could clear the way for the United States to keep
thousands of troops in Afghanistan after NATO-led forces withdraw at the end of
U.S. officials responded to Karzai’s comments, saying the deal must be finalized before
the start of 2014. Karzai’s spokesman, Aimal Faizi, said on November 22 that
Afghanistan does not recognize U.S. “deadlines.”
Afghan authorities and delegates to the Loya Jirga have voiced concern about parts
of the agreement.
Most recently, the question of U.S. forces entering the homes of Afghan citizens has
held up the deal, but there are reportedly other unresolved issues in the agreement
the Loya Jirga is still considering.
Source: Radio Liberty