Skip to main content

Loya jirga approves U.S.-Afghan security deal; asks Karzai to sign

By Masoud Popolzai and Ben Brumfield, CNN
updated 5:48 AM EST, Sun November 24, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Afghans want alleged crimes by U.S. soldiers prosecuted at U.S. bases on their soil
  • Most Afghan elders at the loya jirga approve of the security deal with the U.S.
  • At a loya Jirga, elder aim to bridge divides among ethnic groups, create consensus
  • Their decision is not binding, but Afghan President Karzai has said he will abide by it

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A vast majority of 2,500 Afghan elders voted Sunday at a traditional gathering to recommend a joint security agreement with the United States.

Members attending the 4-day-long loya jirga urged President Hamid Karzai to sign it before the end of the year.

Thousands of tribal elders made their way to the capital to join the loya jirga, a grand assembly, to confer on the key issue of whether or not to support the presence in their country of a limited number of U.S. troops beyond next year.

Amid some skepticism, they decided it was a good idea. U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry, who finished hammering out the deal with Karzai the day before the loya jirga began, was hopeful that they would.

The assembly's decision is not binding, but Karzai has said he will follow their recommendation under one condition -- that U.S. forces do not conduct house raids.

"If US military forces conduct military operations on Afghan homes even one more time, then there will be no BSA and we won't sign it," Karzai said Sunday. "They should give assurance about this to us before I sign it."

Home raids have been one of the main sore spots between Afghans and Western military presence led by the United States.

In spite of the broad backing, elders wanted to see one article changed. The current agreement gives the United States full jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed by the military on Afghan soil.

Many at the loya jirga would like to see the cases prosecuted on U.S. bases in Afghanistan, so that victims and their families may have their say in court.

READ: Rice: Reports of a U.S. apology to Afghanistan are false

READ: U.S., Afghanistan reach security pact through '2024 and beyond'

CNN's Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT