Karzai blasts US, balks at signing security pact

KABUL — Afghanistan’s president on Monday ruled out signing a security deal with the United States until disagreements over sovereignty are resolved but said he will convene a council of elders in one month to help him make a decision on the pending agreement.

Hamid Karzai made the pointed remarks about the languishing Bilateral Security Agreement even as he condemned what he described as repeated violations of Afghan sovereignty by the United States and allies.

The United States wants a deal by the end of October to give American and NATO military planners enough time to prepare for keeping troops in the country after the scheduled 2014 withdrawal — instead of a total pullout similar to the one in Iraq. There are increasing indications that Washington may in fact pull out all its forces.


‘‘The United States and NATO have not respected our sovereignty. Whenever they find it suitable to them, they have acted against it. This has been a serious point of contention between us and that is why we are taking issue of the BSA strenuously in the negotiations right now,’’ Karzai said.

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Karzai’s comments came on the 12th anniversary of the start of the American campaign in Afghanistan against Al Qaeda that ousted its Taliban allies from power. The invasion was in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, which claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

Karzai’s outburst came in response to a question about a NATO airstrike on Oct. 5 in Nangarhar province, near an airport used by US-led international military coalition forces, that the government said killed five civilians.

The coalition said that they struck insurgents who were trying to fire mortars on the base and no civilians were hurt. NATO has opened an investigation.

‘‘They commit their violations against our sovereignty and conduct raids against our people, air raids and other attacks in the name of the fight on terrorism and in the name of the resolutions of the United Nations. This is against our wishes and repeatedly against our wishes,’’ Karzai said, using some of his harshest language to date against the military coalition.


Karzai said there were various issues to be resolved before he could sign an agreement, which has been in negotiation for nearly a year and is said to be nearly complete. They include American guarantees against foreign intervention, a reference to Pakistan, and a counterterrorism force the United States wants to leave in Afghanistan to go after the remnants of Al Qaeda.

‘‘The United States and its allies, NATO, continue to demand even after signing the BSA they will have the freedom to attack our people, our villages. The Afghan people will never allow it,’’ he added.

Karzai, however, is pressing demands that the United States is reluctant to meet, and apparently thinks that the United States wants the deal more than he does and will eventually cave in to his demands.

But there appears to be a growing perception gap in the Karzai camp as the United States and many of its allies are now openly considering a full military pullout.

President Obama suggested Friday that if no agreement can be reached, he would be comfortable with a full pullout of US troops.