No change in Afghanistan’s stance over security deal: Official

Kabul, Jan 17: The chief Afghan presidential spokesperson Thursday said that there is no change in the country’s stance over singing a controversial security and defence deal with the US.

“Afghanistan wants to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States. But Afghanistan has its preconditions which must be met before signing the deal. It is on US to consider and take sincere actions. The ball is now on their ground,” spokesperson Aimal Faizi told Xinhua.

He made the comments hours after Afghan media, citing the US undersecretary of state, reported that Kabul and Washington are nearing to sign the deal.

“Afghanistan would sign the agreement only if the conditions of the Afghan people were accepted and the first precondition is to bring peace and to end war in Afghanistan,” Faizi said, adding the US must also put and immediate end to the military operations against the homes of Afghans.

The Loya Jirga or Afghan traditional grand assembly attended by 2,500 people from across the country in November endorsed the BSA, calling on President Hamid Karzai to ink it before the end of 2013 the same demand as the White House.

Karzai attached some conditions to the signing of the accord, such as an assurance from Washington that it will bring security to Afghanistan, that it will ensure the holding of transparent elections, and that it will support the peace process with the Taliban.

Faizi said the US has violated the previous agreements by “carrying out an air raid in Parwan province (Jan 15) which claimed the lives of seven innocent children and a woman”.

“If the BSA is signed without the return of peace and with persistence of violence and bombings, it would mean that the people of Afghanistan will continue to suffer every day from blasts, terrorist attacks and they will live in their homes in fears of night raids and airstrikes by foreign forces,” he added.

Analysts say if the two countries fail to reach the deal which governs the presence of US troops after 2014 pullout of the NATO-led forces, the US will consider the complete withdrawal of troops, similar to the pull-out of US troops from Iraq two years ago.