Kerry: Afghan DM Could Sign Pact If Karzai Refuses

US Wants an End-Around, But Can They Really Avoid Karzai?

The Obama Administration remains desperate to secure the signature of somebody on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) which will keep them in Afghanistan beyond 2024. They’re getting less and less picky about who that somebody is.

In comments today, Secretary of State John Kerry noted that Afghan President Hamid Karzai is still refusing to sign, and suggested that the US could ask Defense Minister Bismullah Khan Mohammadi to sign instead, or failing him, somebody else in the Afghan government might be asked.

The US seems confident it “could” do any of these things, but the legality of the BSA as an “Executive Agreement” circumventing the US Senate, which is obliged to be consulted on treaties, is already shaky enough with Karzai on board.

Can the Obama Administration really try to shove through an “Executive Agreement” without the chief executive of the other government a willing participant? It is difficult to see how this could be made to resemble legality in even the broadest sense, and Kerry’s suggestion that absent Mohammadi’s imprimatur they could ask just some random “somebody” in the Afghan government to rubber stamp is completely absurd.

The comments may well be the latest in a series of attempts to bluff Karzai into signing off on the pact, but if they are not merely a bluff suggest the administration is willing to stay in Afghanistan by hook or by crook, and mostly crook.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.