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Envoy Says U.S. Certain To Get Afghan Security Accord

U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins
U.S. Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins has told U.S. lawmakers that Washington remains certain it will sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with Kabul despite delays.

Dobbins told the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs on December 11 that "we are not about to decide to abandon all that we and the Afghan people have achieved over the past 12 years."

Dobbins added that there is no "serious doubt that the Afghan people want American and NATO forces to stay."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said he wants to delay signing the BSA until after Afghanistan's next presidential election is held in April.

Both Washington and a special Loya Jirga assembly of tribal and political leaders, which Karazai convened last month, have urged him to sign the BSA immediately.

German Court Rejects Afghan Compensation Claim

Meanwhile, in other Afghanistan-related news, a German court has ruled that relatives of Afghan civilians killed in a 2009 NATO air strike ordered by German forces are not eligible for compensation.

Judges at the court in Bonn ruled there was "no culpable official misconduct" on the part of German commander Colonel Georg Klein, who ordered the strike.

Klein ordered the nighttime air strike on fuel tankers NATO believed were hijacked by Taliban forces in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz Province.

The court said Klein asked contacts at the scene seven times whether there were civilians near the tankers and each time was told there were not, and also that infrared images available to Klein could not have distinguished whether the people gathered at the vehicles were civilians or combatants.

Dozens of Afghan civilians were killed in the air strike. Their relatives were seeking compensation from Germany.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP
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