|code: 310527||Date: 2012/04/23 - 11:20||source: PressTV|
US and Afghanistan signed agreement on strategic partnership deal entail US presence beyond 2014
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - There is an interview with Robert Jackson, at the University of Redlands, California discussing the situation in Afghanistan and the future of its security. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Q: There is massive opposition to the deal in Afghanistan. Can such an agreement hold even if approved by lawmakers?
Jackson: I think it will. I don't think there will be massive disagreement. Of course, there will be some disagreement, but I think it will hold, I think that Afghanistan leaders know that there must be a long term commitment by the US and other countries' stay in Afghanistan.
After all, the whole Western community signed the Afghanistan contract, which was to set up a viable democracy in that country and some would say that is achieved and other would say it's not yet achieved.
Q: Many point out that the handing over of 'command for night raids' by the US forces to the Afghan forces was a step towards setting grounds for the strategic partnership. In your views could that work?
Jackson: Exactly. You are absolutely correct. There had to be a sequence of arrangements, which would make Afghanistan satisfied that it was getting its way.
It wanted first of all to take over more and more control of the security of the country and to do that systematically; and to try to stop the US and NATO allies from controlling the night raids, which do irritate a lot of Afghanis and they don't like of course westerners breaking into their houses at night and things like that.
So of course moving that to Afghanistan's command was absolutely crucial and I think you are probably right that that was a step in exactly this direction.
Q: By agreeing to this strategic pact, the presence of US forces beyond the 2014 deadline becomes kind of open ended. How long can the US afford to maintain such a presence given the current circumstances?
Jackson: Well, the US still remains a very, very rich country and although other countries are doing well by comparison, Brazil and China and so on, which is true, the US is still by far the most powerful economic and military country in the world bar none and there's no argument against that and it could stay in Afghanistan for many, many years.
My guess is that in order to ensure the stability of the regime, this is only my guess and the government will never agree with me on this, the US and its allies are going to have to stay there 30 years.
Q: Lastly, the issue of the status of US troops that are going to remain in Afghanistan has not been covered in this agreement for which a second accord is scheduled to be finalized. Will US troops get diplomatic immunity, especially in light of the recent human rights violations by them that are surfacing?
Jackson: Well, I don't think that that is the most interesting comparison, I think the interesting comparison is what happened in Iraq and in Iraq they could not come to an agreement that the US soldiers would be outside the legal system of Iraq. And that was the final straw that ended the agreement and of course all American troops were pulled out including non-combat troops.
So, I agree that that is the issue that could break the agreement, but on the whole I think if we stay with this leadership in Afghanistan they're probably going to agree to something like a special agreement as a side agreement on that topic.