Afghan Jirga backs US deal, Washington heartened

Most participants in the Loya Jirga, the four-day gathering, had been selected by government officials.

Last Updated: Nov 21, 2011, 14:55 PM IST

Washington: The United States has said that it was “heartened” by the Afghan representatives’ decision to back President Hamid Karzai’s plan for an agreement on a long-term American military presence.

Most participants in the Loya Jirga, the four-day gathering, had been selected by government officials, and their support for Karzai was never in doubt.

The meeting, however, set some conditions that could end up torpedoing the deal, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Washington and Kabul have been negotiating over the past nine months on the planned strategic agreement, which aims to outline what American military and civilian presence will remain in Afghanistan after most foreign troops leave in 2014.

The talks stumbled over Karzai’s demands that the US-led coalition should stop controversial night raids, home searches and detentions of insurgent suspects.

The list of conditions adopted by the Loya Jirga also included a requirement that American citizens should have no immunity for committing crimes and ‘should be tried inside Afghanistan in accordance with the country`s laws’.

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Kabul said that it recognises the Loya Jirga as ‘a traditional Afghan institution for which we have great respect’.

The embassy added that the US expects the negotiations “will result in an outcome that affirms a long-term strategic partnership between the United States and Afghanistan”.

ANI