[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Afghan elders to decide on US troop immunity

Afghan president says decision on immunity for US troops staying in Afghanistan after 2014 to be made after a few months
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2013 12:00
US President Obama warned last week that no US troops would remain unless they are granted immunity [Reuters]

Afghan elders will decide on the key issue of whether American soldiers remaining in the country after 2014 will be granted immunity from prosecution, President Hamid Karzai said.

US President Barack Obama warned last week that no American troops would remain behind in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of NATO forces in 2014 unless they were granted immunity from prosecution in local courts.

"The US is standing firm by its demand for immunity for its soldiers," Karzai told a news conference on Monday on his return from Washington where he held talks with Obama on Friday.

"The Afghan government can't decide on this. This is up to the Afghan nation to decide. The Loya Jirga will decide," he said, referring to the national assembly of tribal elders.

Obama, planning to withdraw most of the 66,000 US troops left in Afghanistan, said that after 2014 American forces would have a "very limited" mission in training Afghan forces and preventing a return of al-Qaeda.

But he warned that Karzai, with whom he has had at times a testy relationship, would have to accept a security agreement, still under discussion, granting legal immunity to US troops who remained.

"It will not be possible for us to have any kind of US troop presence post-2014 without assurances that our men and women who are operating there are (not) in some way subject to the jurisdiction of another country," Obama said.

Karzai said that after 2014, US troops would be in Afghanistan "in small numbers, very, very small numbers like in Germany, Turkey or South Korea, like in Japan".

Their presence would be based on an agreement which could take eight to nine months to finalise he said, adding that the US proposals were not yet acceptable.

When asked if security would deteriorate in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the NATO-led force, Karzai replied: "By no means... Afghanistan will be more secure and a better place."

318

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
UNHCR says hundreds of people trapped in Yaloke town risk death if they are not evacuated to safety urgently.
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Featured
Long-standing dispute over Christian use of the word 'Allah' raises concerns about a very un-Merry Christmas.
The threat posed by ISIL has prompted thousands of young Kurds to join the PKK.
Baja California - with its own grim history of disappeared people - finds a voice in the fight against violence.
Russian feminist rockers fight system holding 700,000 - the world's largest per capita prison population after the US.
Weeks of growing protests against Muslims continue in Dresden with 15,000 hitting the streets last Monday.