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Karzai Says No Pact Without Taliban Talks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai
Afghan President Hamid Karzai
Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he will not sign a security pact with the United States unless Washington launches a genuine peace process with Taliban insurgents.

Karzai has repeatedly refused to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) which would allow some U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan beyond the planned withdrawal of NATO forces by the end of this year to train and assist Afghan soldiers.

Karzai told reporters on January 25 he will not sign the BSA "under pressure."

He said, "If America wants to stay as an ally with us, it should work with us as an ally not as an opponent."

The United States is pushing for the BSA to be signed so that NATO can schedule its withdrawal.

Karzai has suggested a final decision could be made by his successor after presidential elections due in April.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP