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Afghan negotiator upbeat on US deal despite stalemate

31 January, 2014

KABUL: Afghanistan's lead negotiator on a security deal with the United States said on Thursday he was optimistic of imminent progress even though the two countries are currently locked in a bitter stalemate.

The Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) allowing some US troops to stay in Afghanistan after 2014 hit the buffers late last year when President Hamid Karzai made a surprise decision not to sign it.

Although the text has been finalised, Karzai has said that the US must ensure a genuine peace process with Taliban militants is underway before Afghanistan agrees to sign.

"Today, I'm more optimistic compared to the last week, let us wait a few days more," National Security Adviser Rangin Dadfar Spanta told reporters.

"The efforts are ongoing from both sides to break the deadlock, but the condition... still remains the same and that is the practical initiation of a peace process in our country."

Washington has become increasingly frustrated by Karzai's manoeuvreing over the deal, with some US politicians pushing for a complete US troop pullout.

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