Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Afghan council says U.S. deal should be signed by year-end

KABUL, Afghanistan — In a face-to-face rebuke to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a grand council of Afghan dignitaries voted Sunday to recommend approval of a proposed 10-year security agreement with the United States by the end of the year, agreeing to an American-imposed deadline.

The chairman of the advisory council, or loya jirga, told Karzai he miscalculated by threatening a signing delay until next spring. Chairman Sibghatullah Mojaddedi lectured Karzai, warning that if he delays signing, "I'll resign and leave the country."

"If he had listened to my advice, we wouldn't have this problem today," Mojaddedi, 89, a former Afghan president and longtime confidant and mentor to Karzai, said as the president sat stiffly a few paces away.

But Karzai remained adamant that he — or his successor — will not sign the accord until after the Afghan presidential election in April. That stance has infuriated U.S. officials, who on Friday imposed a Dec. 31 deadline.

Karzai asked the loya jirga, whose recommendations are not legally binding, for more time to negotiate. "We'll try to bargain more with the Americans on your behalf" and then sign the agreement months later, he said.

The Afghan president is notorious for ultimatums and delaying tactics that seek to extract concessions and keep himself at the center of events. With his term ending in April, he is about to enter a lame-duck period — especially if he signs the accord soon.

The loya jirga's bold defiance of Karzai presents an opportunity for the mercurial president to save face and back down from the brinkmanship that has put the security deal in jeopardy. Mojaddedi assured Karzai: "If there is a problem in the future" with the pact, "the jirga is responsible."

Most U.S. forces are expected to leave Afghanistan by the end of next year, but as part of the security agreement the White House has been pushing to keep an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 troops in the country for counterterrorism missions and to help train and equip the Afghan military.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was advised by the loya jirga to sign an agreement with the U.S.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai was advised by the loya jirga to sign an agreement with the U.S.

Afghan council says U.S. deal should be signed by year-end 11/24/13 [Last modified: Monday, November 25, 2013 12:43am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Fennelly: Bucs' Roberto Aguayo has his backers, no matter how many kicks he misses

    Bucs

    He was perfect Friday, and not just because he didn't have to kick.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) takes a photo with fans following the first day of training camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, July 28, 2017.
  2. Starbucks to close all Teavana locations, including five in Tampa Bay

    Retail

    Local Teavana locations include Tyrone Square in St. Petersburg, International Plaza and Westfield Citrus Park in Tampa, Brandon and Clearwater.

    Starbucks announced Thursday plans to shut down all 379 Teavana stores, citing "underperformance." Starbucks acquired the mall-based tea chain for $620 million in 2012. [ CANDICE CHOI | AP file photo]
  3. What to watch this weekend: 'The Last Tycoon,' 'Room 104,' 'Rick and Morty'

    Blogs

    Checking in: Room 104

    Listen up, fans of Hitchcock and American Horror Story. Room 104 might be your next obsession. With a premise that feels experimental, Room 104 explores one of film's most traditional styles - telling a story from the inside of just one room. The HBO series is from …

    Each episode of Room 104 follows the guests of a single motel rom and the strange and wonderful things they experience.
  4. Rubio: I intend to keep campaign promises on Obamacare

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Sen. Marco Rubio says he remains committed to overturning Obamacare following the collapse of the latest attempt.

  5. Family spokeswoman: British baby Charlie Gard has died

    World

    LONDON — Charlie Gard, the critically ill British baby at the center of a legal battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, has died. He would have turned 1 next week.

    This is an undated photo of sick baby Charlie Gard provided by his family, taken at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. [Family of Charlie Gard via AP]