The future role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014, to be set down in a bilateral accord, will be put to an assembly of some 3,000 tribal elders and other prominent people next month, organizers of the meeting said on Saturday, Oct 19, according to Reuters.
Organizers of the meeting, known as the Loya Jirga, said it would take place around November 19-21. President Hamid Karzai last week said only the assembly had the authority to decide on the agreement.
Most combat troops are to be withdrawn from the country next year. The draft bilateral accord contains provisions believed to be contentious to Kabul. These include a U.S. demand to retain legal jurisdiction over its troops who stay on in Afghanistan, which would give them immunity from Afghan law.
On Oct 12, U.S. officials said some progress has been made in U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's talks with Karzai on a security deal to allow American troops to remain in the country after the NATO-led military mission ends next year.
Earlier this month, Karzai’s spokesman said that the U.S. bid to run unilateral counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan after 2014 is threatening to derail the security pact between the two countries.
Most foreign combat troops are due to leave by the end of 2014, and the United States has been putting pressure on Afghanistan to finalize a bilateral security agreement by the end of this month.
The pact will set out the terms of a U.S. presence after 2014 and will be followed by similar deals with other countries such as Germany and Italy.
But two issues have emerged as potential "deal breakers", Aimal Faizi said.
One is a U.S. desire to run independent counter-terrorism missions in Afghanistan after 2014, Faizi said. The other was a U.S. refusal to agree to a wide-reaching promise to protect Afghanistan from foreign aggression.
Karzai has long opposed operations in Afghanistan by U.S. special operations forces and the CIA, particularly when they run the risk of causing civilian casualties.