Hamid Karzai refuses to budge from delaying U.S. security pact
London – The Afghanistan president has refused to budge from his decision to delay signing the security deal till next year in a meeting with the U.S. envoy.
U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice said that Karzai’s proposal to delay the signing until after next year’s elections was “not viable”, the BBC reports.
According to the report, Karzai asked for further assurances from the U.S. that its forces will not raid Afghan homes and it will also help restart stalled peace talks with the Taliban, in his meeting with Rice.
He also repeated his demand that the U.S. commits to holding free and transparent elections on April 5.
Their meeting came a day after Afghan elders met at a grand assembly, called Loya Jirga, urging the government to sign the deal by end of this year.
Karzai also demanded the return of Afghan citizens held in Guantanamo Bay, the report added.
Rice, meanwhile, said that delay in signing the deal would not provide the clarity to the U.S. and NATO allies necessary to plan for a potential post-2014 military presence in Afghanistan, and nor would it give Afghans certainty about their security.
The deal might see 15,000 foreign troops extending their stay post-2014 and train Afghan forces while conducting counter-terror operations.