U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has expressed his impatience with a delay by the Afghan president in signing an agreement that permits U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond this year.
"You can’t just keep deferring and deferring," Hagel told reporters late on January 29, when commenting on President Hamid Karzai's reluctance to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA).
Hagel said the BSA needs to be signed soon "because at some point the realities of planning and budgeting and all that is required collide."
Hagel made his comments en route to Poland to consult with Polish officials on Afghanistan and other security issues.
In Afghanistan, Karzai's security adviser, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, said he was optimistic that Karzai would soon sign the BSA.
Spanta said, "Let us wait a few more days."
Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP