Afghan elders to decide on immunity for U.S. forces

Afghan elders will decide whether any U.S. military who stay in the country after 2014 will be granted immunity from prosecution, President Hamid Karzai told reporters Monday in his palace.

“The issue of granting immunity to American soldiers is not a decision that could be made by Afghan government. This is a decision that the Afghan people can make,” he said. “This is a decision that should be made by the Afghan people in a Loya Jirga: whether they are granting immunity to them or not; if yes, how and under what conditions.”
A Loya Jirga is a gathering of elders and peoples’ representatives.

Karzai was referring to a comment made last week during his meeting in Washington with U.S. President Barack Obama, who told him that the continued presence of any U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the planned withdrawal of NATO forces in 2014 would depend on their being granted immunity from prosecution by Afghan courts.

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