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Military

Iran Press TV

Kabul won't yield to US pressure over BSA

Iran Press TV

Sun Dec 22, 2013 6:3PM GMT

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's chief spokesman Aimal Faizi says Kabul will not give in to Washington's pressure to ink a bilateral security agreement or BSA with the US.

A local newspaper Daily Mandegar quoted Faizi as saying Sunday that "The government of Afghanistan would not submit before the American pressure to ink the security and defense accord unless its conditions are met."

The bilateral security agreement provides a legal framework for continued US military presence and operations in Afghanistan.

US President Barack Obama had pledged that he would pull out all American soldiers from Afghanistan by 2014. "We are bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. And I've set a timetable. We will have them all out of there by 2014," Obama said in September 2012 while campaigning for his second term in office.

But under the terms of the BSA, if approved, between 12,000-14,000 foreign troops, most of them Americans, will continue to stay in the war-torn country beyond 2014.

For months the US has been negotiating the signing of the agreement with Afghanistan. But President Karzai has postponed signing it unless a set of demands that he put forward are met.

The demands include an end to US military raids on Afghan homes, a reduction in American drone strikes and the launching of a peace process involving the Taliban.

Another major sticking point is the issue of legal immunity for the US soldiers. The agreement provides the soldiers with immunity from prosecution under Afghan law if they commit any crimes. Instead, they would be prosecuted in American courts.

A recent poll shows that a majority of Americans want President Barack Obama to pull US troops out of Afghanistan faster than he's doing. The Associated Press-GfK poll found that 53 percent of Americans say the speed of the planned withdrawal from the Asian country is too slow.

DB/DB



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