Karzai: US bowed to many Afghan demands in strategic partnership deal

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai said Thursday that Washington bowed to many of his demands when it agreed to the deal signed by President Obama and Karzai on Tuesday.

In an address at his presidential palace, Karzai said that the United States met several preconditions, such as Afghan control of night raids and detention facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported. He also focused on the fact that the agreement prevents the United States from attacking other countries from Afghan soil.

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“Our fundamental conditions were that the U.S. forces must not have the permission to run prisons ... they must not be allowed to arrest Afghans, they must not be allowed to enter Afghan homes," Karzai said, according to the Journal. “These were our preconditions in order to enter into this strategic agreement.”

But already, U.S. officials have hinted that the deal might not be as strong as Karzai is making it out to be in his speech directed toward Afghans.

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U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker said that Tuesday’s strategic partnership agreement does not rule out the possibility of the U.S. military continuing drone strikes in Pakistan, because “there is nothing in this agreement that precludes the right of self-defense,” he said.

Still, Karzai’s remarks show the combative streak that he’s had toward Washington as the Obama administration has worked with him to wind down the war in Afghanistan.

Karzai has called for U.S. troops to leave more quickly than they plan to following several recent incidents — including when a rogue U.S. soldier murdered Afghan civilians — despite the deal paving the way for a U.S. presence in the country through 2024.

He also sparked the ire of some in Congress when he refused to allow Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) — a harsh Karzai critic — to enter the country during a congressional trip last month.

He alluded to Rorhabacher’s critiques that Karzai’s government holds too much power Thursday, saying, “The intention of some congressmen is clear to the people of Afghanistan," according to the Journal.

While Tuesday’s agreement lays out a broad framework for a U.S. presence in Afghanistan after NATO hands off security control in 2014, there are still many unresolved issues, including how many U.S. troops will remain and how much aid Washington will give Afghanistan for its policy and military.

There’s also a question of U.S. troops receiving immunity from prosecution in Afghan courts — the issue that ultimately doomed an agreement to keep U.S. troops in Iraq.

Karzai said Thursday that the follow-up agreement “will be an even more difficult negotiation” than the deal signed Tuesday, AFP reported.

Karzai also said Thursday that he turned down a U.S. offer for him to travel to Washington to sign the agreement, according to the Journal. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "called me and sent an invitation to me to visit America for the signing of this agreement," Karzai said. "But with due respect I said that they should come to Afghanistan so that we sign this agreement here in Afghanistan.”