Kerry, Karzai Fail to Finalize Security Pact Due to Immunity Dispute
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - US Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai failed to reach conclusive agreement on a bilateral security pact because they could not agree on the issue of legal immunity for US troops.
John Kerry said on Saturday in Kabul that despite agreeing with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on a set of core elements in a deal that would allow troops to remain on in Afghanistan, both sides were unable to settle on the crucial issue of immunity for US troops stationed in the country.
"We need to say that if the issue of jurisdiction cannot be resolved, then unfortunately there cannot be a bilateral
security agreement," Kerry said.
Karzai said the talks had focused on protecting Afghan sovereignty and that major differences had been resolved,including a US request to run independent counter-terrorism missions in the country, Al Jazeera reported.
Such operations carried out by the US have long infuriated the Afghan president, who had been demanding Washington agree to share intelligence instead.
Karzai said the US snatching of a senior Pakistani Taliban commander was an example of the kind of action that Afghanistan wanted to avoid.
"This is an issue that we have raised in earnest with the United States in the past few days as we have all previous occasions of such arrests in which the Afghan laws were disregarded," Karzai said, referring to the capture of commander Latifullah Mehsud.
"Therefore our discussion today in particular has been focused on making sure that through the bilateral security agreement such violations are not repeated."
President Karzai said it would be considered later by a grand council of elders and then parliament.
But Kerry said if no deal on the issue was reached, there would be no agreement to allow US troops to remain in the country after the US-led mission ended in 2014.
Currently, there are 52,000 American troops in Afghanistan and the US wants to keep as many as 10,000 soldiers in the country.