Afghanistan’s Karzai Refuses to Sign U.S. Security Pact Despite Council Approval

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 24 2013 1:43 PM

Afghanistan’s Karzai Refuses to Sign U.S. Security Pact Despite Council Approval

451673995
Afghan President Hamid Karzai attends the Afghan Loya Jirga, a meeting of around 2,500 Afghan tribal elders and leaders, on the last day of the four-day-long gathering in Kabul on November 24

Photo by MASSOUD HOSSAINI/AFP/Getty Images

The assembly of Afghan elders known as the Loya Jirga didn’t quite go as expected. Many thought the meeting of tribal leaders and politicians was going to inevitably turn into a session of unabashed criticism of the United States and its plan to keep as many as 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after the NATO forces withdraw next year. Instead, “it ended Sunday as a showdown between those delegates and the man who summoned them to Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai,” notes the Washington Post. Karzai had called the grand assembly to ratify his decision to seal the deal with the United States. And the leaders agreed it had to be signed, telling Karzai he should put pen to paper as quickly as possible. But in the end, Karzai said he would only sign the deal after the April 5 elections, demanding further negotiations and concessions from the United States.

When the meeting was ending, assembly chairman Sibghatullah Mojeddedi told Karzai that "If you don't sign it, we will be disappointed," reports Reuters. Karzai made it clear he didn’t much care: "Fine!" Karzai didn’t actually say why he was putting off the signing of the deal that U.S. officials have repeatedly said should be sealed before the end of the year in order to begin planning for post-2014. Karzai said that the United States would have to agree to stop all raids on Afghan homes in order for the deal to be signed. “If Americans raid a house again, then this agreement will not be signed,” he said.

Advertisement

While some think Karzai could be trying to get more concessions out of the United States, others are speculating he could also be using the deal as a way to ensure he has some political influence over the elections, in which he is not allowed to run, notes the Associated Press. He could use his signature of the agreement as leverage to get the United States to support a candidate of his liking, or, even more simply, prevent Washington from backing someone he doesn’t support.

Some diplomats are cautioning Karzai may be overplaying his hand. “He’s definitely pushed too far,” one diplomat tells the New York Times. “There’s a general consensus that he’s overestimated the importance to the Americans of the agreement and is thinking that they must have it at all costs. The Americans internally are very clear: that it’s not a vital strategic interest, and he doesn’t get that.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.