Karzai Under Growing Pressure to Sign US Deal

US Envoy Insists 'Zero Option' would Be Totally Karzai's Fault

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is increasingly stuck between a rock and a hard place on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), which would keep the US occupation force in place through 2024 and beyond.

Karzai had ruled out signing the deal until after the April elections, but is facing pressure from political rivals, as well as the United States, to sign more quickly.

The US Ambassador to Afghanistan, James Cunningham, insisted that the US never considered the “zero option” until Karzai’s refusal to sign, and if the US isn’t occupying the nation beyond 2014, it will be all the outgoing Afghan president’s fault.

Knuckling under right now would be awfully tough for Karzai, however, since a US drone strike earlier today killed two women and a child, and has fueled public opposition to the US once again. Karzai is calling for any deal to end the drone strikes, but the US insists they want the deal signed exactly as already written, with no such restrictions.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.