Afghan elders Saturday endorsed a strategic partnership deal with the US which could see its troops remain on Afghan soil for years, while insisting on a string of conditions after four days of talks.
Their declaration at the end of the loya jirga stressed terms including that US nationals committing crimes in Afghanistan must not face immunity and that the US must side with Afghanistan if a third country tries to attack it.
President Hamid Karzai accepted the conditions and recommendations of the jirga, which brought together 2,000 elders from around the country in Kabul, saying they were “for the good of Afghanistan”.
The strategic partnership deal will govern the presence of US troops in Afghanistan after 2014, when all NATO-led foreign combat forces are due to leave. The jirga’s declaration on the deal, which is still being negotiated by Kabul and Washington, is not binding.
The meeting also backed holding talks with members of the Taliban who renounce violence, despite the assassination in September of peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani which officials blame on insurgents.