US State Department claims that the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Afghanistan is essentially complete and will be submitted to the Loya Jirga for ratification are untrue, according to a spokesman for President Hamid Karzai, who insists that significant “differences” remains.
Spokesman Aimal Faizi says that the text will be presented to the Loya Jirga along with an explanation of the outstanding issues, but that it is not a “finalized” text and they’re not seeking the jirga’s approval for it.
The Obama Administration has demanded that the deal be finalized by the end of October, threatening to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan if the Karzai government didn’t give in by then. The US claims that the deal was virtually “done” seems to have been wishful thinking based on that goal.
The reality, however, is that with President Karzai leaving office in early 2014, the threat of a US withdrawal in late 2014 simply doesn’t carry a lot of weight, and the Afghans seem determined to continue to seek better terms than the US is willing to offer.
The remaining dispute remains the US demand for full immunity for troops from the Afghan legal system. Though Secretary of State John Kerry insists all such deals are “standard,” the US actually does allow some nations to prosecute US troops for crimes committed on their soil, and remains adamant that they won’t allow any such deal with the Afghans.