US warns Afghanistan over security deal

The United States has warned Afghanistan to sign a bilateral security agreement within weeks in order not to withdraw American troops from the country.

“Our position continues to be that if we cannot conclude a bilateral security agreement promptly, then we will be forced to initiate planning for a post-2014 future in which there would be no US or NATO troop presence in Afghanistan,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Monday.

Carney said the longer the issue drags into 2014, “the more likely that outcome will come to pass.”

Å“I don’t have specific deadlines or other policy decisions to announce today. But I can tell you that we are talking about weeks, and not months. And, you know, the clock is ticking,” he said.

Washington has pressured the Afghan government to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement, which authorizes an enduring US military presence in the country.

Despite pressures from the White House, Kabul ignored US demands for it to sign the agreement by the end of 2013. The protracted negotiations over the deal have increased tensions between the two countries.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has expressed skepticism at the US threat for a complete withdrawal and prefers to leave the decision to his successor.

Washington has repeatedly stated that it cannot wait until after the April election for the approval of the deal, which would allow it to keep over 8,000 troops in the country after 2014.

AHT/AGB

With permission
Source: Press TV