Taliban supports Karzai’s delaying US security deal
The Taliban militants who have been fighting the Afghan government and NATO-led forces in the country to regain power have praised President Hamid Karzai for not signing a security pact known as the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States, a Taliban statement sent to media outlets said.
“The obvious conditional opposition shown by ... Karzai on signing the security agreement indicates that he has realized the demand of the Afghans who are resisting invading forces. The Afghans never accept invading forces in their land,” said the statement written in Pashtu, one of the two official languages of Afghanistan.
The Taliban outfit that wrote the statement also described the presence of foreign forces in Afghanistan as the main reason for the crisis in the country, calling for the total withdrawal of the US and allied forces from the conflict-ridden country.
Earlier on Monday, NATO said it would have to pull all its troops out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014 if Karzai does not sign the security pact with the US, said alliance chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
The NATO-led force currently has around 80,000 troops in Afghanistan, the majority of which are US soldiers. NATO is winding down combat operations, handing responsibility for fighting Taliban insurgents to the Afghans before most foreign combat forces pull out by the end of 2014.
NATO plans to leave a training mission, expected to have 8,000 to 12,000 soldiers, in Afghanistan after 2014.
The US has already warned it could withdraw all its forces by the end of next year, the socalled
The obvious conditional opposition shown by ... Karzai on signing the security agreement indicates that he has realized the demand of the Afghans who are resisting invading forces. The Afghans never accept invading forces in their land.” STATEMENT FROM TALIBAN
zero option, if Karzai does not sign the pact.
Afghans in a four-day Loya Jirga, or grand assembly of the elders and notables, that was attended by 2,500 people from across the country and concluded on Nov 27 endorsed the BSA and urged President Karzai to ink it within the month.
However, Karzai said that the BSA would not be signed until after the presidential election on April 5 2014, unless Washington brings security to Afghanistan, ensures holding transparent elections and supports the peace process with Taliban militants.
Washington hopes Kabul will ink the BSA by the end of the year and warned that not signing the pact would affect US and allied support to Afghanistan.
A dissident leader named Gulbudin Hekmatyar, whose supporters are also fighting the Afghan government and NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, also praised Karzai for not signing the security pact with the US, requesting Karzai to reject it.