Afghans are adamant that they are completely against the presence of US troops in their country. This was confirmed again today when thousands of angry Afghans protested in the eastern city of Jalalabad. They are also totally opposed to the immunity clause the Americans are demanded for their troops if they stay in Afghanistan past the 2014 deadline.
November 17, 2013, 11:57 DST
Thousands of Afghans demonstrated in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Sunday in protest over a possible security deal that would allow US troops to stay in the country after the 2014 withdrawal deadline.
According to information reaching Peshawar, thousands of Afghans poured into the dusty streets of Jalalabad chanting anti-American slogans and torching American flags and effigies of US President Barack Obama. They demanded no US military presence in the country after 2014.
Yesterday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued another appeal to the Taliban to participate in the Loya Jirga scheduled for next week to consider the security pact with the US. Final touches to the pact were given by US Secretary of State John Kerry when he visited Kabul last month but Karzai insisted the deal must be approved by a Loya Jirga of Afghan elders as well as the Afghan parliament.
The Taliban warned Afghan elders not to attend and said anyone participating in the jirga and giving assent to the presence of foreign occupation forces on Afghan soil will be considered a traitor. A spokesman for Hizb-e Islami that is headed by Gulbuddin Hikmatyar, also condemned the jirga and said the group will not participate in a gathering that is meant to endorse the continued enslavement of Afghanistan.
The Americans are no only insisting on keeping between 9,000 to 12,000 troops in Afghanistan for an indefinite period after 2014 but they also want immunity from Afghan law for its soldiers. American soldiers have committed terrible crimes against civilians, including women and children, killing thousands of them since they arrived in Afghanistan in October 2001.
This point was highlighted by the Jalalabad protesters who view the Americans with disgust. The US has warned that if there is no immunity for its troops, there will be no deal. It is clear that the vast majority of Afghans do not want foreign troops on their soil at all with or without immunity.
The Taliban have shown that they enjoy widespread support in the country in their struggle against foreign troops. The Americans, however, suffer from an imperial hangover and appear unwilling to accept the fact that its forces have been defeated by the Taliban.
It will be interesting to see whether the loya jirga would proceed without incidents. The Taliban have vowed to attack it.