Nov. 26 - U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice meets Afghan president Hamid Karzai, urges him to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement. Jillian Kitchener reports.
President Hamid Karzai met with U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice during her 3-day trip to Afghanistan. Rice is urging Karzai to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement promptly, defining the terms for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan past 2014 when troops are set to withdraw. But President Karzai has proposed new terms for a deal, even though an assembly of Afghan elders have endorsed the accord. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR FOR THE UNITED STATES; SAYING: "For the American people who have invested so much in this partnership with Afghanistan that was very good news and we hope very much that the president will decide that it is in his best interest and interest of his country to conclude that Agreement." The Afghan president said he would not sign the accord until after their country's presidential election in April. Rice told Karzai it is - quote - "not viable" to wait until then. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR FOR THE UNITED STATES; SAYING: "If the agreement isn't signed promptly what I said to the president (Karzai) is we would have no choice we would be compelled by necessity not by our preference to have to begin to plan for the prospect we will not be able to keep our troops here because they will not be invited because the BSA will not have been signed and then the nature of our partnership and the investments we have made would be more difficult to sustain." Failure to clinch a deal could mean a full U.S. pullout, leaving Afghanistan to fight the Taliban insurgency on its own.