Karzai’s Farewell and Ending Controversy over BSA

SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)

Negotiations on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) began earlier 2013 and, that would define the shape of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan for years to come. The security discussions between the U.S. and Afghanistan would provide for a limited number of military trainers and counterterrorism forces to remain in the country. The talks have been complicated by several disagreements, including over the immunity that U.S. troops would enjoy from Afghan laws. The text of the BSA was approved by the delegates at the Loya Jirga on November 24, 2013 to be signed by the Afghan President however denied by President Karzai repeatedly up to now.

The outgoing Afghan President Hamid Karzai, during his farewell address Tuesday, said that the U.S. war effort had failed to make Afghanistan peaceful.

The remarks continued a history of strained relations between Washington and Kabul, especially since the surge of tens of thousands of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan beginning in late 2009 to target militant groups and give the Afghan military and police force time to grow and mature.

Karzai’s statement about the failure of war does not seem to be emotional or baseless. As a result, it was released only months ago that a survey conducted in America, 40 to 50% of American respondents said that US forces met failure during their long presence in Afghanistan. According to this survey, Washington could not reach its objective and failed in its counter-terrorism mission in the country. However, just 38% said that US gained victory in Afghan war. A number of journalists and civil society activists say that the Americans’ missions was self-centered within more than a decade of war and the US failed in both , counter-terrorism and narcotic drug operation.

Karzai, who will be replaced by President-elect Ashraf Ghani on Monday, accused the American government of spending the past 13 years focused on “its own interests” instead of what was best for the Afghan people.

“We don’t have peace because Americans didn’t want peace,” Karzai told a gathering of several hundred Afghan government employees. Moreover, he did not mention American’s economic and military support.

Cunningham called Karzai’s remarks “ungracious and ungrateful.”

“His remarks, which were uncalled for, do a disservice to the American people and dishonor the sacrifices that Americans have made here. . . and continue to make,” Cunningham said.

The latest public split between Karzai and the U.S. government seemed a fitting end to Karzai’s 13 years in office. Though U.S. officials credit him with keeping Afghanistan intact despite a continued Taliban insurgency, relations between the countries have soured dramatically since President Obama took office in 2009.

In recent months of Karzai’s presidency, the tension between Kabul and Washington soared more than ever before. President Karzai pointed the finger at the US soldiers, several times, for killing non-combatants and conducting night raid operations on Afghans’ home. Therefore, he set preconditions, which was ending night raid and counterterrorism, for signing Bilateral Security Agreement. He blamed American officials for torturing and humiliating innocent Afghans in Bagram Prison.

On his decision in February to release dozens of Taliban captives from a prison at Bagram air base, despite vehement objections from the United States, which had captured the prisoners and judged them too dangerous to set free, President Karzai said, “…This is justice, justice for the Afghan people, and I believe, firmly, that Bagram has in a very serious way violated the rights of the Afghan people. The existence of that prison is a very unfortunate thing for Afghanistan, and has thrown a very serious difficulty at our relationship with America.” This act of President was also followed by severe critique of Afghan citizens.

The tension has made U.S. leaders eager for Karzai’s departure, which was finalized over the weekend when Ghani and the second-place finisher in the Afghan election, Abdullah Abdullah, agreed to form a unity government. Both have pledged to immediately sign the security agreement, which will allow the United States to keep nearly 10,000 troops in Afghanistan next year.

Both Ghani and his rival, Abdullah Abdullah, had said they would quickly sign a bilateral security agreement that will keep a force of about 9,800 U.S. military advisers in Afghanistan after 2014. Moreover, Ashraf Ghani has said recently to sign BSA on Tuesday. The agreement is necessary to keep U.S. and other coalition troops after the end of the year, providing legal protections for them and a framework for operations.

There are still questions over whether Afghanistan’s new government will remain unified, following a contentious election process that threatened a major political crisis. Abdullah is expected to assume a role as chief executive officer in the government, something akin to a prime minister. But both men still control militias, and it’s unclear what they will do should future disagreements arise.

The deadlock broke between Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah ended the hopelessness of Afghan people to a large extent. And Afghan nation hope and pray for a peaceful future and a strong unity among the nation.

Regarding Karzai’s presidency, despite the political errors made in his government, people feel a sense of satisfaction and praise him for his tactful policy. Despite the challenges such as official corruption, narcotic cultivation, the issue of terrorism, etc, developments were also made regarding education, reconstruction, and women’s rights.




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