WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is pressing Afghanistan to sign a bilateral security agreement for U.S. troops to remain in that country, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Wednesday, a day after the director of national intelligence said he did not expect the pact to be signed.
“We continue to seek the BSA. We continue to press the Afghan government to sign the agreement,” Carney said.
The United States wants to keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after the pullout of most foreign forces at the end of this year, but has warned it could pull out all of its troops unless the pact is signed soon.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign the security agreement so far.
National Intelligence Director James Clapper told a U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Tuesday he did not believe Karzai would sign it and said Washington should simply wait until a new president is chosen in Afghanistan’s April election.
Carney said the United States cannot make plans for troops to stay in Afghanistan without the security deal.
“This was an agreement negotiated with the Afghan government, in good faith, over a long period of time. And it ought to be signed. We’re not renegotiating it,” Carney said.
Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Andre Grenon