As 2013 draws to a close, the United States and Afghanistan are racing to reach a deal that would keep an American military presence in the country when the current arrangement expires at the end of the year. But talks are reaching a stalemate as Afghan President Hamid Karzai continues making more demands of the agreement. Previous reports on the talks wrote that he had requested a formal apology from the United States.
Now The Washington Post is reporting that the talks are near collapse after Karzai sent more requirement to national security adviser Susan Rice. According to U.S. officials, Karzai requested assistance in beginning negotiations with the Taliban and the release of 17 Afghan citizens currently held in Guantanamo Bay. Rice told the president in person—her first trip abroad as national security adviser—that U.S. military would be forced to withdrawal if he kept to his growing list of demands.
Karzai has pressed on with his requests despite receiving a recommendation from the loya jirga, a council of Afghan legislators, to sign the bilateral agreement in the next month. Failing to do so could potentially compromise aid from other countries and organizations toAfghanistan.
According to The New York Times, the only point agreed upon so far concerned transparency in elections. Rice is expected to leave Afghanistan on Tuesday.