Afghan elders recommend signing US deal

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Associated Press

Posted on November 24, 2013 at 5:04 AM

Updated Sunday, Nov 24 at 5:07 AM

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A meeting of Afghan tribal elders and other leaders is ignoring a request from Afghanistan's president for a delay and recommends that he sign a security deal with the United States by the end of the year.

The agreement is necessary to enable thousands of American soldiers to stay beyond a 2014 deadline, primarily to train government security forces.

The 2,500 members of the national consultative council known as a Loya Jirga made the recommendation today after spending three days debating the draft agreement.

President Hamid Karzai wanted to delay signing the security deal until next year, after Afghanistan's elections. He's barred from seeking a third term.

Karzai's efforts are widely seen as a move to force the gathering to ask him to sign the long-delayed accord — thus shifting the responsibility for the deal away from him to the elders.

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