Conflict & Justice

Afghanistan suspends bilateral security agreement talks with US



U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai speak to the media during a joint news conference January 11, 2013 in Washington, DC.


Mark Wilson

The Afghan government suspended its security negotiations with the United States Wednesday, accusing Washington of inconsistencies in its approach to the peace process.

The announcement came a day after the US reportedly agreed to relaunch direct talks with the Taliban, though the State Department has since issued a statement denying that a meeting with the Taliban has been set.

"Reports of a meeting scheduled are inaccurate," spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters, adding that officials had "never confirmed" any specific meeting. 

"There is a contradiction between what the US government says and what it does regarding Afghanistan peace talks," a spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai told Agence France-Presse earlier on Wednesday. 

Spokesman Aimal Faizi stated that Karzai had decided Wednesday morning to suspend negotiations aimed at reaching a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US.

The agreement is supposed to set out the conditions for American troops to remain in Afghanistan after international forces formally withdraw in 2014.

"We are now in consultations with the Afghan leadership and the High Peace Council on how to move forward," State Department spokeswoman Psaki said Wednesday. 

The New York Times noted that Afghan officials have demanded that the Taliban office in Qatar only remain an address in neutral territory, and not purport to be a government in exile.