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article imageUS may not have any troops in Afghanistan after 2014

By Abdul Kuddus     Nov 26, 2013 in World
Kabul - The planned 2014 departure of US troops from Afghanistan has reportedly hit a roadblock with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai insisting on new terms and conditions before he signs the bilateral security accord (BSA).
The BSA reportedly aims to set up guidelines for a limited US military presence in Afghanistan after the coalition's mandate ends in December 2014.
As part of the deal, Afghanistan granted immunity to US forces from trial by local Afghan courts and the exclusive right by US to exercise jurisdiction over its forces with respect to any criminal or civil offenses committed in Afghanistan.
The US and NATO troops entered Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s war on terror and the resolve to root out Taliban from Afghan soil. However, Afghanistan still remains insecure and volatile despite the presence of thousands of international troop.
Karzai insists that the United States halt all night raids on civilians' homes and return Afghan citizens, especially Taliban leaders held in the Guantanamo prison before he signs the pact.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Taliban demanded release of their leaders from the Guantanamo detention facility and their transfer to Afghan prisons as a confidence-building measure during the talks with the US last year. For the United States, such a transfer is outside the scope of the deal.
US National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, who was on a three-day Afghanistan visit to expedite the BSA deal, hinted the presence of no US and NATO troops in Afghanistan post 2014, if Karzai remains adamant to delay the pact till Afghanistan’s elections scheduled for April 2014.
The Huffington Post quoted Rice:
"It would not provide the United States and NATO allies the clarity necessary to plan for a potential post-2014 military presence. Without a prompt signature, the U.S. would have no choice but to initiate planning for a post-2014 future in which there would be no U.S. or NATO troop presence in Afghanistan."
Notably, Afghanistan's Loya Jirga assembly approved the bilateral security accord and urged its quick implementation but Karzai’s last-minute inclusion of conditions scuttled the pact.
The US has repeatedly insisted on the urgency to complete the security accord by the end of the year. Post 2014, the US role in Afghanistan would be confined to training Afghan forces and making them ready to handle security issues without US and NATO assistance.
A breakdown of the pact with the US could impact a similar pact with NATO. The disagreement reportedly puts at stake billions of dollars in international civilian and military assistance.
According to Stars and Stripes, Karzai has separated himself from the US, saying, “Between me and the Americans, there is no good trust. I don’t trust them. They don’t trust me. This has been clear for 10 years.”
More about bilateral security agreement, US troops in Afghanistan, Hamid karzai, Afghan Security
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