Afghan President Hamid Karzai told a meeting of tribal elders and political leaders on Thursday (November 21) they should support a vital security pact with the United States, but acknowledged there was little trust between the two nations.

The Loya Jirga, or grand council, involving about 2,500 Afghans convened a day after Karzai and Washington reached agreement on a pact defining the shape of the U.S. military presence after a 2014 drawdown of multinational NATO force.

"My trust with America is not good. I don't trust them and they don't trust me. During the past 10 years I have argued with them regarding the security of our people and search of our people's houses and they have made propaganda against me," Karzai said.

The five-day Loya Jirga will now debate the draft and decide whether U.S. troops will stay or leave Afghan forces to fight the Taliban insurgency alone.

For almost a year, Washington and Kabul have struggled to conclude a Bilateral Security Agreement that will help determine how many U.S. soldiers and bases remain in Afghanistan after most foreign combat troops exit by the end of next year.

The Afghan tribal elders and political leaders, who have travelled from all over the country to attend the grand assembly, have voiced frustration over the way negotiations between Kabul and Washington have been conducted.

Presented by Adam Justice

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