Karzai holds up US-Afghan security deal

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday again said he would delay an agreement outlining how the U.S. military forces remaining in Afghanistan will proceed after the Obama administration’s 2014 withdrawal deadline, according to multiple reports.

Karzai told a gathering of Afghan elders called the Loya Jirga that he would not sign the security agreement into law until after Afghan elections in the spring.

"If there is no peace, then this agreement will bring misfortune to Afghanistan," he said, according to Reuters. "Peace is our precondition. America should bring us peace and then we will sign it."

The U.S. is considering maintaining 9,000 to 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after the withdrawal.

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President Obama wrote in a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week that the U.S. will continue to respect “Afghan sovereignty” under the security agreement.

“We look forward to completing this agreement promptly,” Obama wrote in the letter. The U.S. had wanted to reach an agreement by Oct. 31.

“We want security, peace and we want a proper election. You have asked me that I should sign it within a month. Do you think that peace will come within a month?" he asked the assembly, according to the Associated Press.

Obama assured Karzai Americans will not conduct raids on Afghan homes unless there are “extraordinary circumstances," according to the letter.

Obama also addressed Karzai’s fears about his citizens’ safety and privacy.

"Over time, and especially in the recent past, we have redoubled our efforts to ensure that Afghan homes are respected by our forces and that our operations are conducted consistent with your law," Obama wrote.

"We will continue to make every effort to respect the sanctity and dignity of Afghans in their homes and in their daily lives, just as we do for our own citizens."