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“Between me and the Americans, there is no good trust. I don’t trust them.” BSA Loya Jirga – the roller coaster ride continues…

November 22, 2013
Contemplating Afghanistan with or without the US?

Contemplating Afghanistan with or without the US?

Summary: The ongoing Afghan Loya Jirga assembly to endorse a post-2014 US military presence is not a done deal…

The Afghanistan Analysts Network give a very useful sense of the proceedings of the roller-coaster ride that is the ongoing Loya Jirga in Kabul.  Kate Clark’s piece is well worth reading in full.  The Jirga has been convened with the intention of debating, amending, approving – and, dare we say it, perhaps even signing – the Afghan/US Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA).  The BSA will define the level and extent of US military engagement in Afghanistan beyond 2014 (for example, and in particular, the numbers and legal status of US troops that might remain in the country after that year).  In essence, President Karzai’s keynote speech – in which he was expected forcefully to urge the assembly to endorse the draft agreement – has been assessed as highly lacklustre, with strong hints of unhappiness about the deal.  If not an outright rejection, Karzai apparently made his disinterest clear and strongly suggested that the draft should not be signed until after the Presidential elections next year (currently scheduled for April 2014) by his successor.

AAN, 21 November 2013: “The consultative loya jirga, convened to scrutinise the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States, has begun with a draft that was only agreed at the very last minute, confusion over the exact status and proceedings of the gathering and a lacklustre speech by President Karzai. The president made little attempt to really sell the agreement to the 2500 delegates; he mentioned some benefits, criticised the Americans and, with little passion or conviction, said it was up to the jirga to decide whether to support it or not”

Some international effort will be required to clarify what is going on.  A further delay to the signing of the BSA is understood to be unacceptable to the US.

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