Taliban reject Afghan-US deal

Loya jirga delegates endorsed a strategic deal which will govern the presence of US troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

Last Updated: Nov 20, 2011, 21:05 PM IST

Kabul: The Taliban on Sunday rejected as a "show"
the endorsement by a traditional assembly of a strategic
partnership deal with the United States that could allow its
troops to remain in Afghanistan for years.

In a statement sent to media, the Islamist militant group
said the assembly, or loya jirga, which ended yesterday, was
orchestrated by the Afghan government to achieve American
aims.

"All the participants were active government workers. What
they discussed at the jirga was what America wanted," said the
Pashto-language statement quoting Taliban spokesman Zabihullah
Mujahid.

"In the past 10 years they brutally searched Afghans`
houses, they detained Afghans and put them in their prisons,
they destroyed people`s orchards... and this cruel army still
wants to continue its barbarism for another 10 years."

After four days of talks, loya jirga delegates endorsed a
strategic partnership deal which will govern the presence of
US troops in Afghanistan after 2014, when all NATO-led foreign
combat forces are due to leave.

But they insisted on a string of conditions including that
US nationals committing crimes in Afghanistan must not be
entitled to immunity, and that the US must side with
Afghanistan if a third country tries to attack it.

President Hamid Karzai accepted the conditions and
recommendations of the jirga, which brought together 2,000
delegates from around the country in Kabul for four days,
saying they were "for the good of Afghanistan".

The meeting also backed holding talks with members of the
Taliban who renounce violence, despite the assassination in
September of peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani which officials
blame on insurgents.

PTI