KABUL: Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah on Monday said the idea of reviewing the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) between Afghanistan and the United States would not help the national security.
A number of Wolesi Jirga and Meshrano Jirga members, Sibghatullah Mujadadi, a former jihadi leader and some political figures had recently said that the US has failed in the ‘war on terror in Afghanistan’ and the BSA needed to be reconsidered.
The BSA between Afghanistan and the US was signed in September 2014 soon after the unity government came into power.
However, Abdullah told a meeting of the Council of Ministers on Monday that some political parties and organizations were raising the BSA issue for their personal interests.
“I take this issue as an excuse, I think it would not help improve the situation in Afghanistan,” he said.
The CEO said the country’s security situation was deteriorating with each passing day and terrorist sanctuaries still existed in Afghanistan, issues that created a dialogue between the Afghan people, the government and the international community.
“Questioning this issue is not the demand of the Afghan people, no anyone in this regard can represent the people of Afghanistan,” Abdullah added.
On the other hand, some Wolesi Jirga members too in Monday’s general session termed the demand of colleagues for a review of the BSA as ‘a hasty move’ and said cancelling the agreement in the current circumstance was not in Afghanistan’s interest.
Shukria Paikan Ahmadi, a lower house member from northern Kunduz province, said: “Reconsideration or cancelling the BSA in the current critical situation of the country is not in the interest of Afghanistan because the US pays salaries to Afghan forces besides implementing some development projects.” She said the idea raised last week by some lawmakers about reconsideration of the BSA was a decision based on emotions.
Zahra Tokhi Zabuli, a representative from Zabul province, said: “We cannot pay salaries of our forces even for a month, if we cancel the BSA, the war in Afghanistan which is imposed on us and it is an intelligence war will intensify, I hope people representatives would make their decisions with accuracy and avoid being emotional.”
However, Obaidullah Barakzai, a lawmaker from Uruzgan province, said he did not attach much hope with the BSA, but the Afghan government should task a committee with reviewing the agreement to find out how much it benefited Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Wolesi Jirga speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said: “The aim of reviewing the BSA is to ensure security which is the right of people.”
The Wolesi Jirga took this decision after security situation deteriorated in the country and interferences in Afghanistan’s affairs continued, he added.
He said the Wolesi Jirga international affairs commission had been tasked to review the BSA and share its report with the lower house.
Pakistan foreign minister’s trip to Afghanistan
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah also pointed to the recent visit of Pakistani foreign minister to Afghanistan and said: “We explained our concerns and told the Pakistani foreign minister that we have no bad will for any of our neighboring countries.”
Two days back, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, at the head of a high level delegation visited Kabul and met with Afghan government leaders. It was Qureshi’s first foreign trip as Pakistan’s foreign minister.
Reports say the both sides talked various issues including security, peace and stability in the region, fighting terrorism, Afghanistan and Pakistan Action Plan and negotiations with the Taliban under Afghans’ leadership and the Pakistani side has agreed to support Afghanistan in the mentioned areas.
Abdullah said: “I hope no country would support groups that are involved in violent activities, terrorism and killing of civilians.”
Closure of IEC’s provincial offices
Abdullah expressed concern over the closure of Independent Election Commission (IEC) offices in a number of provinces and said it would not help bring transparency to elections.
A number of political parties and groups on Saturday closed IEC offices in Kandahar, Herat and Balkh provinces and warned they would also close offices of 20 other provinces if their demands were not accepted.
Changing the SNTV election system to MDR, registering voter’s biometric data and giving political parties the right to election observation are the demands of political parties and the movements.
The CEO said holding transparent and fair election was the demand of all people and political parties’ views and suggestions were being considered. He said the IEC could continue discussing with civil society activists and political parties if they had still any suggestions as transparency in election was an important issue for all.
USAID Promote project
About Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report regarding the failure of Promote project, Dr. Abdullah said that the title of the report was shocking, but the Promote project had been effective in different areas.
SIGAR’s recent report said Promote was too far from reaching its goals and the project was poorly designed.
However, Abdullah said a team had been tasked to review the report and discuss it with US officials responsible for the project.