BEIRUT

World

Afghan president rejects pressure over U.S. deal

Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

KABUL, Afghanistan: Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that "no pressure, no threats and no psychological war" will force him to sign a U.S. deal allowing foreign forces to remain in the country past a planned withdrawal at the end of this year.

The Bilateral Security Agreement would allow about 10,000 U.S. troops and about 6,000 from allied nations to remain in Afghanistan past 2014, largely to help train Afghanistan security forces. But Karzai repeatedly has declined to sign the document, instead saying he wants to wait to sign it after the country elects his successor in the coming April 5 presidential election.

The U.S. had wanted the deal to be signed by Dec. 31 because it needs time to prepare to keep thousands of U.S. troops in the country for up to a decade. NATO allies also have said they won't stay if the Americans pull out.

Karzai's refusal comes as he's increasingly ramped up his anti-American rhetoric in speeches.

" Afghanistan will never be ready to sign anything under pressure, never Afghanistan will be ready to sign anything under pressure," Karzai told journalists Saturday at a news conference. "No pressure, no threats and no psychological war against our people will force us to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement."

Karzai also repeated his demand for the U.S. to jumpstart peace talks with the Taliban as a condition for him signing the agreement. An American effort to get them going through intermediaries in Qatar collapsed last summer. The Taliban have refused to talk directly with Karzai, his government or its representatives.

Separately, Karzai criticized a detention facility on the U.S.-run Bagram Air Field north of Kabul. Karzai referred to Bagram as a "Taliban-producing factory" where he said innocent Afghans are tortured into hating their country. He also said he'd been trying to close it for some six years.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Summary

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that "no pressure, no threats and no psychological war" will force him to sign a U.S. deal allowing foreign forces to remain in the country past a planned withdrawal at the end of this year.

The Bilateral Security Agreement would allow about 10,000 U.S. troops and about 6,000 from allied nations to remain in Afghanistan past 2014, largely to help train Afghanistan security forces.

The U.S. had wanted the deal to be signed by Dec. 31 because it needs time to prepare to keep thousands of U.S. troops in the country for up to a decade.


Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here