UK warns Afghanistan of delaying security deal

By PressTV

The UK government has warned Afghanistan against postponing the process of signing security agreement with the NATO-led troops in the country, media reports say.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets with British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond in Kabul. (file photo)
Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets with British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond in Kabul. (file photo)

Britain also demanded that any British military personnel who would remain in Afghanistan after the NATO-led mandate, which ends in 2014, should be given judicial immunity under Afghan law.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, who was visiting Afghanistan to partake in the official inauguration of the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul, sought to hold Afghan President Hamid Karzai to ransom by threatening that the UK will be forced to end its long-term military commitment to the South Asian country unless its government signs a security agreement with the NATO-led troops, which meant the U.S. military in general, the BBC reported.

This came as NATO-led troops, including the US and British militaries, have set the end of 2014 as the date they will completely end their combat operations in Afghanistan and hand over security to the Afghan National Army.

Britain joined the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to fight what they described as “terrorism” in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the US soil.

Hammond also moaned that “British trainers could only stay if they were given immunity from prosecution under Afghan law.”

“Without those agreements we can’t do anything because we won’t be able to protect our own people and clearly if we can’t protect our own people we won’t be able to have them here,” said Hammond.

Afghanistan is already in talks with the US government to clinch a deal that would allow U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. If that agreement is reached, then other member countries of the NATO military alliance, including the UK, will begin a contest to sign a separate agreement with the Afghan government.

Britain has established an academy at Qargha, west of Kabul, to train Afghan officers through a 42-week course designed to provide them with essential leadership skills to take into battle.

The academy is very much like the British Army’s Royal Military Academy, commonly known as Sandhurst, which is largely funded and used by the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf region.

Afghans will decide the fate of bilateral security pact with the US during a meeting of an upcoming grand council dubbed “loya jirga.”

The US government has also demanded immunity from prosecution for its troops, who would remain in Afghanistan as part of the deal.

The Taliban have already dismissed the pact, saying that the so-called security agreement would be a betrayal of the Afghan people.

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