Skip to main content

Loya jirga approves U.S.-Afghan security deal; asks Karzai to sign

By Masoud Popolzai and Ben Brumfield, CNN
November 24, 2013 -- Updated 1048 GMT (1848 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Afghans want alleged crimes by U.S. soldiers prosecuted at U.S. bases on their soil
  • Most Afghan elders at the loya jirga approve of the security deal with the U.S.
  • At a loya Jirga, elder aim to bridge divides among ethnic groups, create consensus
  • Their decision is not binding, but Afghan President Karzai has said he will abide by it

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A vast majority of 2,500 Afghan elders voted Sunday at a traditional gathering to recommend a joint security agreement with the United States.

Members attending the 4-day-long loya jirga urged President Hamid Karzai to sign it before the end of the year.

Thousands of tribal elders made their way to the capital to join the loya jirga, a grand assembly, to confer on the key issue of whether or not to support the presence in their country of a limited number of U.S. troops beyond next year.

Amid some skepticism, they decided it was a good idea. U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry, who finished hammering out the deal with Karzai the day before the loya jirga began, was hopeful that they would.

The assembly's decision is not binding, but Karzai has said he will follow their recommendation under one condition -- that U.S. forces do not conduct house raids.

"If US military forces conduct military operations on Afghan homes even one more time, then there will be no BSA and we won't sign it," Karzai said Sunday. "They should give assurance about this to us before I sign it."

Home raids have been one of the main sore spots between Afghans and Western military presence led by the United States.

In spite of the broad backing, elders wanted to see one article changed. The current agreement gives the United States full jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed by the military on Afghan soil.

Many at the loya jirga would like to see the cases prosecuted on U.S. bases in Afghanistan, so that victims and their families may have their say in court.

READ: Rice: Reports of a U.S. apology to Afghanistan are false

READ: U.S., Afghanistan reach security pact through '2024 and beyond'

CNN's Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
James Dawes: Evil is the strongest word we have to prepare ourselves to kill others.
August 23, 2014 -- Updated 0159 GMT (0959 HKT)
As protests over the shooting of an unarmed black teen calmed down, the question remains: Where's the police officer who pulled the trigger?
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 0922 GMT (1722 HKT)
CNN's Tim Lister: Getting rid of ISIS will be tougher than taking on al Qaeda.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 0042 GMT (0842 HKT)
American patients infected with Ebola are being released from the hospital. What now?
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1048 GMT (1848 HKT)
One of the first observers at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine describes the harrowing scene.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
Five survivors of acid attacks capture India's attention with a "ground breaking" photo shoot.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1219 GMT (2019 HKT)
In an exclusive CNN interview, Lance Armstrong admits to having a "f**k you" attitude.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
The pain that Michael Brown's parents are going through is something Sybrina Fulton can relate to. She, too, lost a son in a controversial shooting.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid gestures during the UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Sevilla at Cardiff City Stadium on August 12, 2014 Cardiff, Wales.
"We are like one grain of sand against a whole beach," says Eibar fan Unai Eraso.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1022 GMT (1822 HKT)
From fierce protests in Ferguson, to an Ebola survivor discharged from a hospital in Atlanta, browse through the photos of the week.
ADVERTISEMENT