KABUL — President Hamid Karzai said Monday that a meeting of the nation’s elders should convene to decide whether US troops staying in the country after 2014 would be immune from prosecution under Afghan law.
Karzai’s remarks were his first since returning from Washington, where he met last week with President Obama about the future of the alliance between the two countries.
This was also the first time Karzai has said that Afghans should hold a ‘‘loya jirga’’ — a national assembly of elders — to make the decision on US troop immunity.
The United States has said that it needs to maintain sole legal jurisdiction over its forces in Afghanistan as part of the agreement for forces that will stay after 2014. In Iraq, it was the Iraqi government’s refusal to grant such jurisdiction that caused US troops to completely quit that country.
‘‘We want our national sovereignty and the Americans want the safety of their soldiers,’’ Karzai said. ‘‘They don’t want their soldiers to be under the laws of another country.’’
Karzai appeared to be trying to strike a conciliatory note, in sharp contrast to the harsh rhetoric and demands ahead of his US trip. However, he stressed that the issue of US troop immunity was not up to his administration to decide.
‘‘The Afghan government cannot make that decision. It is the decision of the people of Afghanistan. So a loya jirga of the people of Afghanistan should decide,’’ he said.
Loya jirgas have traditionally been used in the country to make major decisions.