US Backs Off December Ultimatum for Karzai Pact

Says January Signing Would Be Fine

The Obama Administration imposed an ultimatum on President Hamid Karzai last month: he must sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) by the end of December, or the occupation will end.

Or it won’t end. The White House, apparently noticing that Karzai hasn’t budged mid-way through December, is furiously backpedaling, and now says January would be fine too.

Karzai’s term in office ends in April, and he’s only said he won’t sign until after the April election, so the US only needs to back-track a few more times to get themselves in line with what Karzai planned to do at any rate.

As far as Karzai’s demands to end drone strikes on civilian targets, those are off the table, according to Gen. Martin Dempsey, who says the pact will not be subject to further negotiation.

Instead of concessions, the US is apparently putting its hopes on India to sell Karzai on the idea of a continued occupation, with officials expressing “confidence” that Karzai would eventually sign off on the deal, and saying India, which Karzai is planning to visit this week, would help.

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.