"Many Afghans are angry over incidents including the February 2012 accidental burning of hundreds of copies of the Islamic holy book, the Quran, a March 2012 shooting spree by a U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan that killed 16 people, and unintended civilian deaths from U.S. bombs. The night raids are particularly offensive because they are perceived as violating the sanctity of women in the house despite U.S. claims that they are a useful tool in killing insurgent leaders. The other sticking point is legal immunity — an issue that was a deal breaker during failed negotiations over a similar deal in Iraq before U.S. forces withdrew from that country in December 2011. Karzai's National Security Adviser Rangin Dafdar Spanta told lawmakers at a weekend briefing that the U.S. position was clear: If Washington doesn't get jurisdiction over its soldiers and civilian personnel, it won't sign the agreement, and it won't leave any U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan when international combat troops withdraw at the end of 2014. Hakimullah Mujahed, one of the Loya Jirga's organizers, said "the security agreement with the U.S. has to be in the framework of the Afghan constitution." "The trial of foreign soldiers accused of killing innocent Afghans or committing crimes against Afghanistan should be tried in an Afghan court. That's very important," he added." Boston Herald
Barry McCaffery told Chuck Todd of MSNBC this morning that the proposed Afghan security agreement reflects "muddled thinking" in terms of the foolishness of leaving a necessarily embattled remnant in a "vast and hostile country." He also pointed out the fact that the remnant would be 800 miles from the sea and the US Navy. I could not agree more. The fate of the British mission at Kabul in 1879 comes to mind. Major Sir Louis Cavagnari and his escort of soldiers from the Guides were wiped out to the last man after a pitched battle with a Kabul mob. McCaffery insisted that there are no important US security interests in Afghananistan. Once agsin, I agree. The civil war in Afghanistan is an intra-Pushtun war. It is not a war against the shattered AQ who once were a powerful force in the country.
Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser to Obama, then made an appearance to deny that the agreement is a political fig leaf to cover the embarassment of Afghan/American looting of our aid money and yet another defeat endured in the name of the failed COIN philosophy. He made it clear that if the agreement is signed, the US will continue to "bleed" billions of dollars into Afghanistan. At the same time he left open the possibility that the US will "pocket" the agreement and withdraw all but a small group of advisers. This scenario would ensure the continuation of the process of embezzlement that has persisted for so long.
Let us hope that the Afghans will save us from the folly of further particiapation in their civil war. pl