According to the President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, Afghan elders will decide whether any US troops who will remain after 2014 would be granted immunity from criminal prosecution.
Addressing reporters on Monday, Karzai mentioned:
"The issue of granting immunity to American soldiers is not a decision that could be made by Afghan government. This is a decision that the Afghan people can make. This is a decision that should be made by the Afghan people in a Loya Jirga: whether they are granting immunity to them or not; if yes, how and under what conditions."
A Loya jirga is a grand assembly of Afghan elders where they discuss and resolve national, political, or emergency matters. Jirgas, traditionally compose of elder tribal leaders, also take part in resolving important disputes in Afghanistan.
The question of granting immunity to US soldiers came up after President declared the planned withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan in 2104 and that the possibility of continued presence of US troops in Afghanistan after the withdrawal would depend on the forces being granted immunity from prosecution by Afghan courts.
The United States has legal immunity agreement with almost all sovereign governments where US troops are deployed. The immunity in Afghanistan would shield US troops from Afghanistan’s local courts, law, or jurisdiction.
Mr. Karzai is hopeful that the Loya jirga would be reasonable and endorse in favour of the immunity of US troops during their stay in Afghanistan post-2014.
Last week, after meeting with , Obama signalled the end of the 12-year-old Afghan war. It is not yet clear how many troops would stay in Afghanistan after 2014. However, there is an indication from US officials that the number of troops may range from 3,000 to 10,000 and they would be concentrating on training Afghan forces and will play a support role in counter-insurgency operations.