A senior aide to Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the United States on Friday of trying to pressure elements of his government to accept a security deal that would shape the post-2014 U.S. military presence in the country.
The bilateral security pact (BSA) was thrown into doubt last month when Karzai said he would sign only if new conditions were met, and even then only after April elections.
If the pact is not signed Washington says it will consider a complete military withdrawal from Afghanistan, which remains embroiled in the insurgency of the Islamist militant Taliban.
Failure to sign could also put Western aid running to billions of dollars in serious jeopardy, exposing the central Asian country’s shaky economy to collapse.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Washington’s top diplomat for Afghanistan and Pakistan, James Dobbins, have all visited Karzai recently to convince him to sign by the end of the year.
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