US tells Karzai to sign security pact soon

The Obama Administration has asked the Karzai Government of Afghanistan to sign the bilateral security agreement (BSA) with it as soon as possible before the end of this year and insisted the text of the agreement is final from its side.

AFP| Last Updated: Nov 23, 2013, 10:44 AM IST

Washington: The Obama Administration has asked the Karzai Government of Afghanistan to sign the bilateral security agreement (BSA) with it as soon as possible before the end of this year and insisted the text of the agreement is final from its side.

"We have long made clear that we need to get a bilateral security agreement done this year. We`ve made clear that it`s imperative that we do it as soon as possible, and further delay is not practical nor tenable," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.

Carney was responding to questions on statements by the Afghan President Hamid Karzai wherein he has said that the signing of BSA should be left to the next president to be elected after the elections next year.

The Obama Administration has refused to buy the argument.

"The United States needs adequate time to plan a potential military mission with our NATO allies, and the Afghans have an election coming up and have said that they want certainty about whether the US will be there to support them post-2014, both financially and with respect to training and their security forces," Carney said.

"This process has been undertaken now for some time, and the bottom line is that we need to conclude the agreement with signature between our two governments as quickly as possible, and certainly by the end of this year. Failure to conclude the BSA by that point would make it impossible for the United States and our allies to plan for a presence post-2014," Carney argued.

In a message to the Loya Jirga, which is undergoing in Kabul right now, is that the US has negotiated in good faith. "We`ve provided the assurances that President Karzai has sought, and we believe the text before the Loya Jirga represents a strong agreement for both parties. We have submitted our final offer on the text, and we hope the Jirga will not be left to think that we are open to rewriting it. It is time to get this done," he said.

Carney informed that the BSA does not specify on the troop presence and its numbers post 2014.

"The president will be making that decision. But we have said that a BSA must be in place because we can`t possibly have further US military presence there without an agreement in place," he added.