Nov. 24 - Assembly of Afghan elders endorses security deal to enable U.S. troops to remain in the country beyond next year, but President Hamid Karzai refuses to say whether he will sign the pact into law. Nathan Frandino reports.
An assembly of Afghan elders are ready to make a deal with the U.S. The assembly - known as the loya jirga - voted in favor of a security deal to allow U.S. troops to remain in the country past next year. Now it's up to President Hamid Karzai to sign the pact into law. Karzai, however, appeared uncertain if his final remarks. (SOUNDBITE) (Dari) AFGHAN PRESIDENT, HAMID KARZAI, SAYING: "While we're ready to give bases for Americans on our soil, we have a condition concerning security. Security from today onwards meaning from now on American forces are banned from launching operations on Afghan houses." Karzai earlier said he would not sign until after a presidential election due next April. The statement shocked the U.S. and drew criticism from one of his opponents, Abdullah Abdullah, a presidential candidate. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AFGHANISTAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE AND KARZAI OPPONENT, ABDULLAH ABDULLAH, SAYING: "President Karzai's main point is something personal that he asks, and then the other day in the inauguration he talked about it. He talked about the elections, linking bilateral security agreement with the elections in itself is dangerous it is not just risky it is dangerous and we don't need that." U.S. troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan at the end of 2014.