The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

November 16, 2013

Bomb kills six in Afghan capital before elders meet

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber tore through the Afghan capital Saturday, killing at least six people near the site where thousands of elders are to gather next week to discuss a controversial security agreement with the United States, officials said.

Authorities said 22 people were wounded in the powerful blast, which mangled a dozen cars and destroyed shops nearby. Ambulances raced away with the wounded.

The explosion came just hours after President Hamid Karzai announced that U.S. and Afghan negotiators had finished a draft deal to be presented to the Loya Jirga, whom Kabul says must approve the document before Afghanistan signs it.

The explosive-laden vehicle rammed into an armored vehicle posted about 200 meters (yards) from the giant tent where the Loya Jirga is to be held, Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammed Zahir Azimi said.

No group immediately claimed the attack, though blame is likely to fall on the Taliban, who have adamantly opposed the presence of any foreign soldiers in Afghanistan.

Karzai has called 3,000 elders, clerics, parliamentarians and other influential figures to debate the Bilateral Security Agreement, which would allow U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan after the final withdrawal of international combat troops at the end of 2014.

Without approval of the Loya Jirga, Afghanistan likely will refuse to sign the agreement, Karzai said. If the Loya Jirga does approve it, the agreement still requires final approval from parliament.

U.S. officials refused to comment on the draft, describing the effort as an ongoing diplomatic process. Karzai provided few details regarding how and when the draft was finalized, but said there still remain "differences" between Washington and Kabul on the deal.

Negotiations have been protracted and often acrimonious. In the end it took a surprise visit to Afghanistan in October by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to produce the outlines of a deal.

The sweeping document incorporates the usual Status of Forces Protection Agreement, which the U.S. signs with every country where its troops are stationed, along with a wide range of other clauses. It covers everything from customs duties on goods the U.S. imports for its troops and development projects to the question of whether a U.S. service member could be prosecuted for criminal offences in an Afghan court.

Earlier, two senior U.S. officials told The Associated Press that Afghanistan had sought specific security guarantees, particularly against cross-border incursions by insurgents from neighboring Pakistan. Washington is cautious about any commitments that could lead to a conflict with Pakistan. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the deal was still being negotiated.

Karzai described a laborious negotiation process that sometimes came down to fine details of phrasing.

"There was one word that we didn't want in the agreement but (the U.S.) wanted and in the end they agreed to not use that word," he said, without identifying the offending word.

Karzai did not say what the draft said regarding U.S. service members' immunity from prosecution. This key American demand has been a sore point in Afghanistan. Many are still angry over incidents including the February 2012 accidental burning of hundreds of copies of the Islamic holy book, the Quran, a March 2012 shooting spree by a U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan that killed 16 people, and unintended civilian deaths from U.S. bombs.

The Loya Jirga is scheduled begin Thursday. The debate is expected to last several days and attendees are likely to be deeply divided over signing the pact.

"They should think about the prosperity and stability of today and tomorrow in Afghanistan. And whatever decision they are making they should think about the future of Afghanistan," Karzai said.

A "no" vote from the Jirga likely will scuttle the agreement and leave Afghanistan without any U.S. forces after the end of 2014. With the agreement, the residual force of about 10,000 that is expected to remain behind would mostly train and mentor Afghanistan's National Security Force. A small group of U.S. Special Forces also are expected to stay in Afghanistan to hunt down al-Qaida fighters and carry out counter-terrorism activities.

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • news_skoreaferry.jpg Fears rise for missing in South Korea ferry sinking

    Fears rose Thursday for the fate of 289 passengers still missing more than 24 hours after their ferry flipped onto its side and filled with water off the southern coast of South Korea.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_ukraineprotests.jpg Pro-Russian gunmen make inroads in eastern Ukraine

    The well-armed, Moscow-backed insurgency sowing chaos in eastern Ukraine scored a new victory Wednesday, seizing armored vehicles and weapons from underequipped government forces, then rolling through two cities to a hero’s welcome.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_detroitsunset.jpg Detroit still needs $350M from state lawmakers

    Pressure was building Wednesday for Michigan lawmakers to commit $350 million to Detroit pensions, a day after the city reached tentative agreements with pension funds and a retiree group to reduce payouts.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • news_malaysiaplanesearch.jpg Sub makes second dive to search for Malaysian plane

    As a robotic submarine dived into the ocean to look for lost Flight 370, angry Chinese relatives stormed out of a teleconference meeting Wednesday to protest the Malaysian government for not addressing them in person.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3 APTOPIX Police Conver_Unde-1.jpg Feds: Boston bombing suspect not entitled to '11 murder file

    Federal prosecutors have told a judge they have no evidence that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev knew about his brother's alleged role in a triple slaying in Waltham two years before the bombings.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boston police safely blow up suspicious backpacks

    Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city's resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 16, 2014

  • 292 missing, 4 dead in South Korea ferry disaster

    A ferry carrying 459 people, mostly high school students on an overnight trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea's southern coast on Wednesday, leaving nearly 300 people missing despite a frantic, hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four people were confirmed dead and 55 injured.

    April 16, 2014

  • GM sales eyed for impact of ignition switch recall

    As General Motors shows off its newest cars and trucks in New York this week, analysts are watching for signs that consumers are shying away from the ones sitting on dealer lots.

    April 15, 2014

  • Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

    Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over Boston's resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 15, 2014

  • First women move to Army platoon artillery jobs

     Under a canopy of trees on the edge of a large field, soldiers from Bravo Battery are lying in a circle as they pore over targeting charts. Nearby, others are preparing the howitzer cannons as helicopters swoop overhead. At the edge of the circle, the platoon leader watches as the field artillerymen go through their training exercise.

    April 15, 2014

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium