By Ravinder Singh Robin, Onboard Special Aircraft, Feb.16 ANI | 8 months ago

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has backed Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai's 'calculations' in delaying the signing of a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States that would authorize American troops to remain in Afghanistan after 2014.

Interacting with media persons onboard his special aircraft after attending the inauguration ceremony of the first National Agriculture University of Afghanistan, Khurshid said: "I know that he (Afghanistan President, Hamid Karzai) has, he is making some careful calculations about when the Bilateral Security Agreement should be signed, and, I think, the Americans are also reflecting on how to move forward."

"But clearly, this is, I don't think it's a stalemate situation, I think it's more of a fine tuning situation, but, what you can see, and I am certainly able to see, that there is a tremendous amount of confidence amongst the trained personnel, both the police and the army," Khurshid added.

The United States and other nations have been seeking to keep thousands troops in Afghanistan for counter-terrorism and training of Afghan personnel after U.S. forces formally withdraw at the end of 2014. The action would end a 13-year mission in Afghanistan that began after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks across the eastern part of the United States.

In the absence of a bilateral agreement, the White House says all U.S. forces will withdraw at the end of the year, and that a decision from Karzai is needed within weeks.

Karzai has called that an empty threat and suggested that any security deal could wait until after his country's April elections.

Afghanistan's Constitution bars Karzai from running for a third term.

(Posted on 16-02-2014)

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