News24

Immunity for US troops to be negotiated

2013-01-14 13:59

Kabul - A decision on immunity for US troops staying in Afghanistan after the 2014 planned withdrawal, will be made by the end of the year, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Monday.

"The issue of immunity is under discussion [and] it is going to take eight to nine months before we reach agreement," Karzai told a news conference in the capital, Kabul, after returning from meetings with US President Barack Obama in Washington.

The Afghan government rejected an initial US proposal regarding the question of immunity and a second round of negotiations will take place this year in Kabul, he said.

Those negotiations could involve Afghanistan's Loya Jirga, a "grand assembly" of political and community leaders convened for issues of national importance, he added.

When asked if security would deteriorate in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the Nato-led force, Karzai replied: "By no means... Afghanistan will be more secure and a better place."

The Obama administration has been considering a residual force of between 3 000 and 9 000 troops in Afghanistan to conduct counter-terrorism operations while providing training and assistance for Afghan forces.

But the administration said last week it did not rule out a complete withdrawal after 2014.

America is insisting on immunity from prosecution for any US troops that remain.