Transforming US-Afghan ‘Strategic Partnership Agreement’ into reality


As expected, President Hamid Karzai achieved what he wanted out of the recently held four-day loya jirga, a political approval to enter into a “Strategic Partnership Agreement’ with the United States. The Afghan president, being controversial, has made a routine to hold loya jirgas for approval of issues that would generally be rejected by Afghan Parliament if lawfully routed through them. He is the only leader of Afghanistan who has called far more loya jirgas in number when compared to other Afghan leaders of the past. The participants of this particular jirga never knew why they were assembled there in Kabul till the time the president addressed them and told what was required of them in the name of advice. And that was exactly what they delivered but that advice was projected as a formal approval by the Afghan president and the international community.
Why would not the jirga participants agree to the desires of their host, the president, who spent so much money for their traveling and comfortable stay in Kabul through official exchequer? The main strings of conditions attached with the jirga’s approval included a bar on US-led forces to conduct night raids, a bar on US nationals committing crimes in Afghanistan from claiming immunity and a demand that the US must side with Afghanistan if a third country tries to attack it. The last condition tantamount to degrade Afghan pride as born fighters for they have never sought a third party or outside helps to fight the foreign invaders.
The 10-year ‘agreement’ that has been recommended by the Afghan jirga will definitely lay the foundation for a very long term deployment of US military boots in Afghanistan. The analysis of American ingresses elsewhere in other countries on strategic grounds reveals that they continued to stay there for prolonged periods. Japan and Germany are the examples where the Americans forces remain deployed for almost the last 66 years but neither the host countries or the US itself have ever termed those as permanent US bases. Afghanistan by agreeing to the US demands of keeping five permanent military bases beyond 2014 through ‘Strategic Partnership Agreement’ is also headed towards another permanent US strategic base.
Taliban have rejected the endorsement of Afghan elders for such a strategic partnership with the US by saying that the ‘agreement’ will be another tool that would continue to sustain the Taliban insurgency inside Afghanistan. Also, more than 1000 University students came out on the streets next day after the jirga’s nod to the agreement and vented their anger on jirga’s decision. They blocked a main highway in Eastern Afghanistan amid loud shouts of ‘Death to America. Death to Karzai’. The situation on ground in Afghanistan remains quite dire. Instead of acknowledging his nation’s apathy on continuation of American forces beyond 2014, the US puppet president Hamid Karzai continues to play on the tunes of US ambassador and American military leadership in Afghanistan not only to secure his corrupt clique to power in Kabul but also to portray the US like a winner in Afghanistan until [Barack] Obama’s re-election in 2012! He is also often referred to as an American viceroy in Afghanistan who follows his handlers dictates in earnest and tries to implement them in latter and spirit for if he doesn’t, he will loose his job, which continues to be protected and funded by them.
The American State Department naturally welcomed the outcome of the loya jirga. General John Allen, Commander of the NATO led ISAF in Afghanistan has emphasised that the US-Afghan Strategic Partnership must be binding to cater for provision of advisors, trainers, intelligence personnel and also the special operators. He went on to say that there will be a security relationship that will emerge out from the ‘Strategic Partnership Agreement’. The regional and global fraternity however, did not comment on the outcome of the same. The majority of Afghans yearn to see the Americans get out of their country as soon as possible to let them avail a chance to develop peace internally amongst themselves. A very small minority that too in the shape of Karzai government functionaries however want continuation of American military presence in Afghanistan much beyond 2014.
The nod of the loya jirga and the street protests against the same reflect deep divisions amongst Afghans on the issue. It is not known whether Karzai will take the issue to the Afghan Parliament or not but all indicators point out that the ‘agreement’ will be signed in the near future. The US has desired that the ‘agreement’ be signed before the Bonn Conference takes place on 5th of December. It may not be surprising if the Afghan Parliament gets by-passed in the process to push the deal through per American desires.
The size and the locations of the deployment bases beyond 2014 are not yet known. In all the probability the selected bases will be shared with Afghan National Forces. The rules governing the American actions post 2014 deployment are also not known even to the Afghan president. The Afghan president has also said Afghanistan was negotiating similar types of agreements with European countries as well. An unstable Afghanistan has always been a security threat to Pakistan. With the prolonged presence of US troops and other Western troops beyond 2014, the situation in Afghanistan will continue to be volatile. Nothing will change on the ground with respect to the foreign military deployment in Afghanistan beyond 2014 and the status quo as of today will continue to be maintained.
The scourge of continued insurgency therefore in Afghanistan will continue as it was born out of the Afghan tradition to fight the foreign military invaders and will only fade out upon total withdrawal of these forces. Meanwhile, Pakistani military forces, now battle hardened, are poised to confront the spill over of the insurgency that is likely to prevail even beyond 2014.


  1. Typical Pakistani propaganda. It is a well known open secret that Pakistan Today is nothing more than mouthpiece for the ISI. Meanwhile Pakistan continues stew in a mess of its own making.

  2. With all respect to the nation of Pakistan – great people, we have to admit that the ISI is a cancer in the region and has put a bad reputation to the name of pakistan! these are terrorists themselves spreading terrorism in the region!

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