Op-Ed: US drone strike kills child wounds two women in Afghanistan

Posted Nov 29, 2013 by Ken Hanly
Karzai just recently said that he would not sign the Bilateral Security Agreement(BSA) unless the US stopped night raids on Afghan homes among other demands. Now the US has launched an air strike that blew up a home killing a child and wounding two women.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai
Afghan President Hamid Karzai
With permission by Reuters
Karzai immediately condemned the strike and said he would definitely not sign the unless such strikes stopped. However, he already made that threat before this strike. The US has been threatening to pull out altogether if Karzai does not sign the agreement by the end of this year. In a clear sign this is a bluff, the US is also trying to find ways of having the agreement take effect without his signature. Karzai has been making more demands on the US and has also been insisting that the deal be signed in April after his term in office ends.
Spokesperson for Karzai , Aimal Faizi, said of the strike: "It shows that U.S. forces have no respect for the decisions of the Loya Jirga [council of elders] and life of civilians in Afghanistan. If such operations continue, there will be no agreement."
Each time a strike happens this will be the refrain. Karzai has been demanding that the strikes stop for ages now. Apparently, the strike was actually by a drone according to Mohammed Nae, the governor of Helmand Province where the attack took place. The governor said the child was killed and the two women wounded.
After her three day visit to Kabul and talks with Karzai, US national security adviser Susan Rice said:“We’ve concluded the negotiations of the agreement. We’re getting the text ready, and we’ll sign it at a high level". This wording already suggests that the signature might not be that of Karzai. The US is apparently seeking Foreign Minister Zarar Osmani or some other senior official to sign on behalf of the Afghan government. However, it will be problematic to do this without the approval of Karzai himself. Perhaps this might be a way of Karzai saving face while he gives in to the US. Not only the US but many Afghan officials are putting pressure on Karzai to sign the agreement. This is just a clear case of the person paying the piper calling the tune: Afghan political leaders are increasingly nervous that the country’s fledgling armed forces could be on their own after 2014. If the agreement is not concluded, Afghanistan could also lose $4 billion in annual aid for its military. Many of these officials prosper because of the huge amounts of aid provided by the US. If that were stopped they would not only not prosper but would probably lose power as well. This is why Karzai's hand-picked elders also approved the security agreement. However, if foreign troops do not leave the Taliban will not accept any peace agreement at least not with the Karzai government that they consider a puppet. They will negotiate only through the US, the real power in Afghanistan.
Addendum: The US commander involved has apologized for the raid, as the missile apparently missed its target.