Tal­iban supports Karzai’s de­lay­ing US se­cu­rity deal

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AGEN­CIES in Kabul, Afghanistan and Brus­sels

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.

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