U.S., Afghanistan Agree to Terms For Security Pact
A deal has been tentatively reached between U.S. and Afghanistan for a security pact, according to the New York Times.
Reports say that the Afghan leader would accept wording allowing American-led raids on Afghan homes under “extraordinary circumstances”, or in order to save the lives of American soldiers. The breakthrough came during a phone call by Secretary of State John Kerry to President Karzai today.
Karzai said he will make the way clear for a deal to insure a long-term security pact under one condition. Basically, Obama has to apologize. Karzai wants a letter from President Obama acknowledging American military mistakes in Afghanistan and promising not to make those mistakes again.
Mr. Karzai’s spokesman, Mr. Faizi said, “The idea was to indeed mention that there were mistakes made in the conduct of military operations in the past, in the conduct of military operations by United States forces in the last decade, and that Afghans have suffered, and that we understand the pain and therefore we give assurances and make sure those mistakes are not repeated.”, which pretty much outlines what they want Obama’s letter to read like.
Kerry agreed to the letter, but White House spokesperson Jay Carney doesn’t know if the President is on board. “I don’t have any specifics on any language of a letter that has not been written.” he said, according to AFP.
The deal is not sealed, yet, however, as the terms must pass approval by a loya jirga, which is a grand council of Afghan elders. The bad thing is, that any wording that allows raids on Afghan homes is likely to be met with resistance at the meeting.
Mr. Carney seemed to acknowledge the council’s potential deal-breaking role on Tuesday. “There are ongoing negotiations,” he said. “I would simply say this agreement is not reached until it goes through the loya jirga.”
This was the last remaining issue in the talks, which included President Karzai with the American ambassador James B. Cunningham, and the American military commander, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. This was the last day to wrap up the talks before the loya jirga will meet. “The rest, everything is solved,” Mr. Faizi said.
The BSA (Bilateral Security Treaty) will determine the terms of home searches, but another key factor agreed on will determine how many US soldiers stay in Afghanistan when most of NATO’s troops deployed in the country since 2001, which currently number 75,000, leave at the end of 2014.
Now, whether the loya jirga goes well or not, Afghan officials have another problem to worry about. The Taliban have claimed that the loya jirga meeting a US-designed plot. They are therefore vowing to pursue and punish its delegates as traitors if they approve the BSA.
I suppose we will have to wait to see what happens after the loya jirga meets to see what our future in Afghanistan will look like.
Image via wikimedia commons