U.S.-Afghan postwar plan hits roadblock over counterterrorism ops

"We find it to be something that will definitely undermine our sovereignty, if we allow the U.S. forces to have the right to conduct unilateral military operations," Faizi said. 

A senior American official told Reuters that Karzai's opposition to American counterterror operations in postwar Afghanistan are not threatening to derail ongoing talks between Kabul and Washington. 

Counterterrorism operations, as well as continued advise and assist missions with the Afghan National Secuirty Forces (ANSF) have long been the backbone of the Pentagon's postwar strategy. 

However, Karzai has railed against U.S.-led counterterrorism missions, particularly the use of unmanned drones, inside Afghanistan due to the high civilian casualty rates associated with those operations. 

That said, Faizi reiterated the Karzai administration's desire to get a postwar security pact with the United States finished in time for the country's presidential elections, slated for next April. 

"We still believe that this is a very important agreement and we want to sign," Faizi said, adding Karzai "will definitely be held accountable by history and by the people of Afghanistan if things go wrong." 

The security pact, known as a bilateral security agreement (BSA), will lay the groundwork for a postwar American force and grant legal immunity for U.S. troops in that force. 

Lack of an immunity deal for U.S. troops was a crucial factor in the failed attempt to set up a postwar security deal in Iraq and set the stage for the recent wave of sectarian violence against Iraqi forces and civilians in the country. 

But talks over the pending BSA have been largely positive, with negotiations now in the "final" stages between Karzai and President Obama, Faizi said. 

Afghan leaders are coalescing around a final number of U.S. forces to remain in country after American and coalition forces withdraw next year. 

That total postwar force will likely end up around 10,000 soldiers, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul told CNN last Thursday. 

That figure matches rough troop estimates circulating on Capitol Hill. 

"My hunch is it’s going to be below 10,000," Senate Armed Services Committee chief Carl Levin (D-Mich.) said earlier this month during a breakfast in Washington.

That number should be enough to provide counterterrorism and air support for Afghan forces, while continuing the U.S. military training mission in the country, Levin said at the time.