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Ambiguity Surrounds Fate Of BSA Amid US-Taliban Talks

14 Mar 2019 Tolo News

While the US and the Taliban agreed in draft on key issues under debate in Qatar talks, uncertainty emerges about the fate of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) signed between the two countries in 2014.

The Afghan government said on Wednesday that the BSA was not discussed in fifth round of Doha talks between the US and the Taliban.

“The strategic partnership agreement between the United States and Afghanistan is still in its place,” said Sibghatullah Ahmadi, spokesman for Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“All provisions of the agreement will be implemented. Our relations with the United States is still strong and unwavering,” he added.

 Some legal experts, meanwhile, said the dissolution or amendment of the BSA has special criteria and that the agreement will be implemented without any hurdle unless circumstances for its amendment are created.

 “If the Americans act in a way that take stance on behalf of Afghanistan, it will be a violation of the agreement. And meanwhile, it will affect the US’s credibility from a legal perspective,” said Nasrullah Stanekzai, a legal expert.

“The security pact will remain in its current strength if the US enters the talks with the armed opponents as one side of the agreement and reach an agreement (with militants),” said Musa Fariwar, a legal expert.

Reports indicate that militants’ attacks have dramatically increased in different parts of the country as the new fighting season arrives.

However, the Afghan security agencies said the offensive operations by security forces have also increased against militants.

 Recently, at least 11 members of the Afghan National Army were killed when the Taliban militants launched their base in the restive Uruzgan province in the south of Afghanistan.

 What the BSA Entails for Afghanistan?

The 26-article agreement aims to promote “peace, security, and stability; strengthening state institutions; supporting Afghanistan’s long-term economic and social development; and encouraging regional cooperation.”

The US emphasized, in the preamble, that they will not use Afghanistan as “a launching point” to target and attack other countries.

After the end of the combat mission of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in 2014, the BSA will allow the forces to continue an advisory role to train and assist the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

The agreement’s goal is to “increase security and stability by reducing tensions, uncertainty, and misunderstanding” as well providing a “framework for defense and security cooperation between the parties”.

The first two articles in the accord clarify and define the terms used in the agreement and state the purpose and scope of the BSA.

Article three and six lay out that the constitution and laws of Afghanistan must be abided and the country's political independence and territorial integrity should not be threatened.

 The BSA implemented from January 1, 2015 and according to article 26, the agreement will be effective till the end of 2024 unless terminated by mutual agreement upon a two-year written notice.

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