US, Karzai Butt Heads Over Afghan Security Deal

Karzai wants Gitmo releases, help with Taliban talks; US threatens to walk
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2013 7:56 AM CST
US, Karzai Butt Heads Over Afghan Security Deal
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during the last day of the national consultative council known as a Loya Jirga in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

As the US and Afghanistan attempt to hammer out a troop withdrawal agreement, things are getting testier on both sides. Afghan President Hamid Karzai is telling US National Security Adviser Susan Rice that he won't sign any deal unless the US agrees to new demands. He wants Washington to help Kabul run Taliban peace talks; he's also calling for the release of all 17 Afghan citizens currently at Guantanamo. And he insisted, not for the first time, that US soldiers must never again set "foot into an Afghan home," the Washington Post reports.

Rice, however, has told Karzai that if he doesn't sign a security deal by the year's end, the US will have to begin a complete pullout. Karzai also risks losing $4 billion yearly in an international effort to support his military, as well as $4 billion to boost Afghanistan's economy. Karzai would rather wait until after elections in his country next year, an option the US says is "not viable." "We can continue to disagree, but at the end of the day, we are the ones who have the troops," a US official tells the Post. (More Hamid Karzai stories.)

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