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Kerry Wraps Up Surprise Visit To Kabul

NPR
Saturday, October 12, 2013

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The secretary of state met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in an effort to break the impasse in talks on a new bilateral security pact. Those negotiations will determine how many, if any, U.S. troops remain in the country after the NATO mission ends next year. Host Scott Simon speaks with NPR's Sean Carberry about the trip.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Secretary of State John Kerry is finishing up a marathon round of negotiations in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Secretary Kerry's is trying to repair the deadlock between the U.S. and Afghanistan. And at issue is whether U.S. troops will completely withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014. NPR's Sean Carberry is at the presidential palace in Kabul. The two men are I believe still holding a news conference in the palace garden. Sean, thanks for being with us.

SEAN CARBERRY, BYLINE: You're welcome. Thanks, Scott.

SIMON: So, deal or no deal?

CARBERRY: Looks like deal at this point. President Karzai came out, listed a number of conditions he was concerned about and said that the conditions had been met to his satisfaction, that he would put the agreement forward to his national security council then to the parliament and then to a people's assembly, Loya Jirga, for them to sign off on the deal.

So, that part looks like it's done. The one holdout issue, though, is the issue of jurisdiction or immunity for U.S. troops is not including in this deal Karzai said that has to be decided by the Afghan people. Secretary Kerry said that's still something that (technical difficulties) decided to pull troops out because they could not resolve the jurisdiction issue.

So that's still outstanding, even though they say they have resolved the other sticky issues about sovereignty, about U.S. conducting attacks here, about security guarantees and things like that.

SIMON: Sean, is it possible that they won't reach a deal politically?

CARBERRY: At this point, it's tough to guess. But President Karzai has long said that the jurisdiction issue would be settled by the Afghan people. He had confidence that the Afghan people would go along with that. It's seems to be more a case where he's looking for political cover on the deal. So, given the fact that they worked through some of the much more difficult issues, it seems fairly likely that this will go forward at this point.

SIMON: NPR's Sean Carberry, speaking with us from Kabul at the presidential palace where a press conference is still going on between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghans' President Hamid Karzai. Sean, thanks very much for being with us.

CARBERRY: You're welcome, Scott.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: And you're listening to NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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