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article imageOp-Ed: Karzai ignores US deadline to sign bilateral security agreement

By Ken Hanly     Jan 1, 2014 in Politics
Kabul - The Obama administration gave Afghan President Hamid Karzai until the end of 2013 to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement that sets the terms and conditions for US troops to remain in Afghanistan through 2024 and even beyond.
The BSA has already been approved by a meeting of elders, a Loya Jirga, and the Afghan parliament. Karzai himself had agreed to a draft that was presented to the Loya Jirga. However, he later added several other conditions including an end to night raids and release of Afghans from Guantanamo.
The Obama administration warned both in November and early in December that if Karzai did not sign by the end of the year, all troops would need to be withdrawn and threatened to do so. This turned out to be more of a bluff than the stance of Karzai. Personally, I thought he would have caved by now. Given that the Loya Jirga members were all approved by Karzai and asked him to sign, it seems a bit odd for him now to insist on further changes he is almost certain not to get. For its part the US administration now says that if Karzai signs some time in January that will be suitable. Originally the argument was that it would be impossible to plan adequately if the agreement were not signed by the end of 2013.
Karzai for once is keeping to his stated position that he will not sign unless his demands are met and the signature can simply wait until a new president is chosen after his own term ends in April. I expect that the Obama administration could actually work within that time frame as well since the BSA comes into force a year from now:" If approved, the agreement would go into effect January 1, 2015, and last "until the end of 2024 and beyond, unless terminated" by mutual agreement and with two years notice by either party, according to a copy of the deal posted online Wednesday by the Afghan government that a U.S. official confirms is authentic" The text of the draft agreement can be found here.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Hamid karzai, Karzai, Afghanistan, afghanistan occupation, US Afghan relations
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