21 November 2013, 11:23

Up to 15,000 foreign troops could stay in Afghanistan - Karzai

Up to 15,000 foreign troops could stay in Afghanistan - Karzai

Up to 15,000 foreign troops could stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014 if a security pact with the US is signed, President Hamid Karzai said Thursday.

About 2,500 tribal chiefs, chieftains and dignitaries are gathered in Kabul for a four-day discussion of the bilateral security agreement with the US.

"If signed... 10,000 to 15,000 of their troops will stay. When I say 'their troops', I don't mean the Americans (alone)," Karzai told delegates.

Afghan assembly to discuss key security deal with US opens

About 2,500 Afghan tribal chieftains, community elders and politicians began a grand assembly on Thursday to debate a crucial security deal with the US.

About 2,500 Afghan tribal chieftains, community elders and politicians began a grand assembly on Thursday to debate a crucial security deal with the US.

President Hamid Karzai and most of his cabinet arrived at a giant Kabul tent to mark the official start of the "loya jirga", or grand assembly which will debate the bilateral security agreement with the US over the next four days.

US-Afghanistan reach deal on final text of security pact - Kerry

The United States and Afghan governments have reached an agreement on the final text of a security pact that will determine the presence of US troops in Afghanistan after 2014, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday.

The draft agreement goes to a grand council of Afghan elders, known as a Loya Jirga, for approval on Thursday.

"We have reached an agreement as to the final language of the bilateral security agreement that will be placed before the Loya Jirga tomorrow," Kerry told reporters.

No discussion whatsoever of US apology in Afghan talks - Kerry

There was no discussion whatsoever of the possibility of a US apology to Afghanistan during US-Afghan talks about a security agreement, Kerry said.

"The important thing for people to understand is there has never been a discussion of or the word 'apology' used in our discussions whatsoever," Kerry told reporters, saying Afghan President Hamid Karzai had not asked for an apology.

Afghanistan publishes draft of crucial US security pact

Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry published the draft of a crucial security agreement with the United States late on Wednesday, a day before thousands of Afghan elders are due to start debating whether to allow US troops to stay in the country after 2014.

US forces remaining in Afghanistan after 2014 will be subject to American justice rather than local courts, according to a draft security deal released by Kabul on Wednesday.

The legal status of US troops was a key sticking point in negotiations over the bilateral security agreement that will govern Washington's military presence after the bulk of NATO forces withdraw from Afghanistan next year.

Read more:

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Voice of Russia, Reuters, AFP, New York Times

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