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Rasmussen

Brussels, 27 Jan 2014 - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged Kabul to finalize its post-2014 deal with the U.S., warning that Afghanistan could face a complete halt in NATO support operations in the country "if it does not sign the Bilateral Security Agreement." 

"For planning reasons, we need to know soon whether we are invited or not. I mean, if we are not invited, if we don't have any legal framework then we can't stay in Afghanistan after 2014. This is as simple as that," Rasmussen said. 

President Hamid Karzai claimed the U.S. government had been putting pressure on the Afghan government to sign the security pact by "any means". He chastised Washington for engaging in a "psychological war", which he said was not an act of a "friend", but a "rival". 

President Karzai maintained that he had not budged on his preconditions for signing the BSA, which would ensure a continued presence of coalition troops in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission ends in December. 

In addition to ending unilateral operations on Afghan homes, Karzai said that his other precondition that the U.S. get peace talks with the Taliban back on track was still firmly in place. He said that peace in Afghanistan was in the hands of the U.S. and Pakistan. 

Many Afghan politicians, analysts and civil society activists have come out in condemnation of Karzai and his feud with Washington. Calls for the BSA to be finalized have abounded since the agreement was approved by a Loya Jirga convened by Karzai himself back in November.