Karzai spokesman rebuffs US end-of-year deadline for agreement on keeping troops past 2014

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Afghanistan's presidential spokesman says the only deadline for a security pact with the United States is the one set by the country's president, rebuffing American demands that it be signed by the end of the year.

Spokesman Aimal Faizi said Friday that President Hamid Karzai's desire to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement after next spring's presidential elections is the only deadline recognized by Afghanistan. The White House urged Thursday that it be signed by year's end. The deal would keep thousands of U.S. troops there after 2014.

Karzai urged tribal elders Thursday to approve a security pact with Washington, but said he prefers his successor sign it.

The 2,500 members of the consultative council known as the Loya Jirga are holding a four-day meeting on whether to endorse the deal.