18 November 2013, 19:03

US-Afghanistan security agreement in jeopardy

By Crystal Park
WASHINGTON (VOR)—The bilateral security agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan is in jeopardy now that Afghan president Hamid Karzai has rejected a key provision.

The U.S. wants Afghanistan to give American troops permission to enter and search Afghans' homes freely. Karzai insists that is non- negotiable. Thomas Gouttierre, Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, says the U.S. wants to keep that provision for the safety of its troops.

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“Many Americans were being killed and attacked…so we felt we needed the ability to go after those who were attacking us. In order to be able to do that, individuals were seeking or using Afghan homes, in many ways, to hide or to escape. This is why it was initially a major part of what we felt we needed to have, and did have.”

Gouttierre says Afghanistan still needs American protection once U.S. troops leave next year.

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"Hamid Karzai and most all Afghans want a continuing American presence in Afghanistan. When you consider Pakistan on one side, Iran on the other, it's a rather hostile neighborhood, or violent neighborhood."

If no agreement is reached, Afghanistan might need to rely soley on their still immature security forces to protect themselves after U.S. troops leave in 2014.

But Gouttierre says in all likelihood, Karzai is playing his political cards to put Afghanistan in a favorable position once U.S. troops leave his country.

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“I think what you see right now is a bit of political posturing, and an assertion by Karzai that is in some ways predicated on his frustration and his perception with the way the United States has dealt with him diplomatically.”

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