Don’t sign, Hamid! Don’t sign! Tell the Americans to get out!
“Karzai Adds to Demands on U.S. in Meeting With Susan Rice,” by Gopal Ratnam and Eltaf Najafizada for Bloomberg, November 25 (thanks to Lookmann):
Afghan President Hamid Karzai added to the demands he said must be met before he”ll sign an agreement permitting some U.S. forces to remain in his country after the end of next year.
In a dinner meeting yesterday in Kabul with U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Karzai insisted that the U.S. release Afghan inmates from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a condition for the Bilateral Security Agreement, according to a Persian-language statement e-mailed by his office.
U.S. officials have been frustrated by Karzai’s shifting demands, even after a council of 2,500 tribal elders endorsed the draft agreement over the weekend, and by the delay he’s seeking in signing the pact until after Afghanistan’s presidential election in April.
“Karzai outlined new conditions for signing the agreement and indicated he is not prepared to sign the BSA promptly,” according to a statement issued by the White House describing Rice’s meeting at the presidential palace.
Without a “prompt signature, the U.S. would have no choice but to initiate planning” to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, Rice told the Afghan leader, according to the statement. Under an agreement, the U.S. would keep some forces to train the Afghan military and conduct counterterrorism operations after combat troops depart by the end of next year….