WASHINGTON & KABUL, Afghanistan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Afghanistan Foundation is urging the Karzai government today to conclude a bilateral security agreement and new Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States to govern the post-2014 American military deployment in Afghanistan.
“We are again calling on President Hamid Karzai to move expeditiously to conclude a bilateral security agreement, and new Status of Forces Agreement, with the United States prior to the 2014 withdrawal,” said Philip Smith, President and Executive Director of the Afghanistan Foundation in Washington, D.C. “This agreement is long overdue, and critical to reach, prior to the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan in the coming months.”
Smith continued: “American soldiers, humanitarian aid workers, and contractors continue to be killed, wounded, kidnapped or simply disappear in Afghanistan, after twelve bloody years of war in support of the Afghan people, and the Karzai government, and yet, astonishingly, a new Status of Forces Agreement and bilateral security agreement have still not been signed by President Hamid Karzai and the Afghanistan government with the United States.”
“This ongoing delay by elements within the Karzai government is increasingly troubling to policymakers in the Obama Administration and U.S. Congress, especially given that the United States has been Afghanistan’s strongest ally, following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against America, and has led the multilateral NATO and ISAF effort to provide security, reconstruction and economic development to Afghanistan for over a decade,” Smith commented. “America has made an extraordinary good-faith effort, and yet unacceptable and repeated delays continue on the part off the Karzai government in its failure to sign this critical diplomatic agreement.”
“Clearly, President Karzai should sign this bilateral security agreement immediately, well prior to the upcoming Presidential elections in Afghanistan in April of 2014, or risk the continued rapid erosion of political, military and economic support from the United States, NATO and international community for Karzai’s government,” Smith stated. “More policymakers in Washington, D.C. are questioning the hundreds of billions of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars spent, and thousands of American lives lost in Afghanistan, if President Karzai and his government are unwilling or unable to reach a new Status of Forces Agreement with the United States in a timelier manner.”
The Afghanistan Foundation is a non-governmental, public policy research organization. http://www.afghanistan-foundation.org