Karzai: security pact draft ready for Loya Jirga

Nov 16, 2013, 3:26 AM EST
REUTERS/Olivia Harris

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai says Afghan and U.S. negotiators have worked out a final draft of a contentious security pact to be presented to a traditional gathering next week.

But he said at a news conference Saturday that without the approval of the Loya Jirga, Afghanistan will likely refuse to sign the deal governing the continued presence of U.S. forces in the country.

Both sides said last month that they had reached an agreement in principle on the major elements of the pact, without which no U.S. service member will remain after the final withdrawal of international combat troops in 2014.

U.S. officials could not immediately be reached.

If the Loya Jirga scheduled to begin on Thursday approves the agreement, it will be sent to Afghanistan's parliament for final approval.