US Seeks to ‘Bypass’ Karzai on Afghan Troop Deal

by Jason Ditz, November 27, 2013

With Afghan President Hamid Karzai calling for the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) to wait until after the April elections, the Obama Administration is said to be considering “bypassing” him outright.

But is that even possible? Officials say it’s not clear. Theoretically the deal could be completed without the signatures of the heads of state, but that would mean delegating that authority to the legislature.

Which would mean actually letting the US Senate debate the BSA, which would extend the US occupation through 2024 and beyond. President Obama has tried to avoid bringing it before Congress by arguing this is an Executive Agreement, not a treaty. Failing to get the signature of the Afghan executive would ruin that argument.

The US has threatened to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014 in the pact isn’t signed by Karzai before the end of December. Afghan officials have said they don’t take that threat seriously and Karzai wants more concessions before signing the deal.

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