Secretary of State John Kerry claimed major progress in negotiation for the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) to keep US troops on the ground in Afghanistan beyond 2014, but left the country this weekend having failed to finalize the pact.
Kerry claimed all the major issues had been resolved for the BSA, except for the question of immunity for US troops operating in Afghanistan. The immunity dispute, ironically, was the same one that stalled the US Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq in 2008.
As with the SOFA, the US is demanding all troops who violate the law be tried in the US, while the Karzai government wants at least some war crimes to be dealt with in Afghan courts. The perception that the US has been overly light with sentencing, and indeed sometimes sweeps crimes under the rug entirely, has been controversial among Afghans.
Kerry’s visit and the negotiations were overshadowed by the US military’s capture of Pakistani Taliban figure Latif Mehsud, who was in Afghan government custody and had agreed to help the Afghan government in peace talks when US troops attacked a security convoy and captured him, dragging him off to Bagram.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
- State Dept: Companies Using US Sanctions as Excuse to Not Do Business With Iran - May 4th, 2016
- As Rebels Pound Aleppo, Kerry Threatens Assad - May 3rd, 2016
- US Mulls Sending More Troops to Iraq, Syria to Fight ISIS - May 3rd, 2016
- Turkey: 42 PKK Fighters Killed in Past 48 Hours - May 3rd, 2016
- Britain Considers Sending Hundreds More Troops to Iraq - May 3rd, 2016