|Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a press conference in Kabul on Jan. 25, 2014. Hamid Karzai on Saturday reiterated his preconditions for inking the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States, saying he will not sign the security pact unless the peace process begins and security is ensured in Afghanistan. (Xinhua/Ahmad Massoud)
KABUL, Jan. 25 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday once against reiterated his preconditions for inking Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the United States, saying he will not sign the security pact unless the peace process begins and security is ensured in Afghanistan.
"We want to sign BSA with U.S. but in return we want peace and security for the people of Afghanistan," Karzai told a press conference here.
"Before inking the security agreement, the peace process must begin," the president added.
A traditional Loya Jirga, or grand assembly of tribal elders and notables, attended by 2,500 delegates from across the country last November endorsed the BSA and urged President Karzai to sign it before the end of 2013, a similar demand made by Washington.
Nevertheless, Karzai stated he will not sign the agreement unless and until the United States halt searching Afghan houses during military operations, support meaningful peace process with Taliban and ensure transparent elections slated for April 5 this year.
In reaction to the preconditions, Washington reportedly said that the United States does not have "magic wand" to overcome problems overnight.
The controversial BSA, if inked, would allow the United States to keep limited number of troops, reportedly 10,000, beyond 2014 pullout of NATO-led forces from the militancy-plagued country.
Karzai also said that both the United States and Pakistan can play significant role in bringing about peace in Afghanistan.
"Ensuring peace in Afghanistan is directly depending on America and Pakistan. If U.S. and Pakistan work honestly and cooperate honestly the peace will return in our country," he said.
Afghan officials have been accusing Pakistan of supporting Taliban militants, a claim spurned by Islamabad as groundless.
"In return for inking BSA we want durable peace for our people; otherwise it would be better for them (foreign forces) to go," the president noted.
"If security agreement inked but insecurity incidents exists and the country lives in anarchy, in this case BSA would be similar to Durand," Karzai said, referring to the Durand Line agreement, inked between the then Afghan king Amir Abdul Rahman and the erstwhile British Empire in 1893, which separated part of Afghanistan from the country.
The president also rejected the concerns as a psychological war that his country would plunge into instability after the NATO-led forces withdrawal, saying Afghanistan has constitution, national security force and stable institutions which facilitate the country to go ahead.
Nevertheless, Karzai went on to say, "If American wants to remain our friend should behave as friend and not as rival."
He also defended the release of prisoners from Bagram detention center run by the U.S. military, saying innocent people are put in Bagram prison and his government would not allow Bagram prison to become the prison of Afghans.
Meanwhile, Karzai said that the coming elections will be held as scheduled on April 5 this year, and the security forces will ensure security for the election process.