Afghan president Hamid Karzai said
on Sunday the United States needed to bring peace to Afghanistan
before he would sign a security deal which will enable
Washington to keep troops in the country beyond next year.
"If there is no peace then this agreement will bring
misfortune to Afghanistan," Karzai said in his closing remarks
to the Loya Jirga assembly of elders and dignitaries. "Peace is
our precondition. America should bring us peace and then we will
The president did not elaborate, but has previously said
that a free and fair election is needed to guarantee peace in
The Loya Jirga was convened to decide on the pact, but
Karzai cast the entire process in doubt by saying he would
refuse to sign it until after a presidential election scheduled
for April 2014. The United States
has repeatedly said it cannot
wait beyond the end of this year.