Soldiers Won’t Repeat Past Mistakes, assures Kerry

The U.S. soldiers will not repeat the mistakes they have committed over the past 12 years in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry assured President Hamid Karzai late on Tuesday, according to a statement released by Presidential Palace here today. 

Mr. Kerry said if the Loya Jirga approves the security pact between two countries and allows the U.S. soldiers to conduct search operations in residential areas, they would not repeat the mistakes they have committed in the past. 
Over a telephone conversation with President Karzai late on Tuesday, Mr. Kerry said President Barack Obama would assure the members of Loya Jirga through a letter that the U.S. soldiers would not be allowed to repeat the military mistakes again. 

According to the statement, President Karzai apprised Mr. Kerry of the demands Afghans have from U.S. government. They can sign the pact with a new administration in Kabul that will assume charge after April 2014 elections; and Mr. Kerry should attend the Loya Jirga and convince the participants about the significance of the pact and explain the circumstances under which the U.S. soldiers would raid the residential houses in Afghanistan.

In response to the demands raised by President Karzai, Mr. Kerry said U.S. wants to sign the security agreement with the current ruling dispensation in Kabul. President Obama, he said, would write to Afghan government to assure them that American soldiers would refrain from committing more mistakes during search operations in civilian areas.

On Tuesday, reports said President Karzai has rejected the clause of conducting operations and raiding residential houses, but the U.S. officials emphasized they would be carrying such operations only under extraordinary circumstances and based on credible intelligence reports. 

The security pact would delay the withdrawal of U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan beyond 2014, as they believe their presence is important to ensure peace and stability in the region and to fight the insurgents and terrorist networks operating in the country. Loya Jirga, which is meeting this week in Kabul, has the authority to take final call on the contentious pact. 

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