A new survey conducted by a non-profit international development group has found that the majority of Afghan people live in fear of the foreign troops in the country.
According to the annual poll released by the Asia Foundation on Thursday, some 77 percent of respondents, or more than three out of four Afghans, said they would “be afraid when encountering international forces.”
The findings come amid mounting frustration in Washington over President Hamed Karzai’s refusal to sign a security deal that would allow the presence of American troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
The US, which has about 46,000 troops in Afghanistan, needs the security pact to keep thousands of its forces in the country beyond 2014.
Karzai says he will not sign the pact unless Washington ends raids on Afghan homes, among other demands.
The Afghan president’s spokesman also said on Wednesday that Karzai would not allow any minister to sign the security pact unless Kabul’s key demands are met.
The comment came a day after US Secretary of State John Kerry said the bilateral pact could be signed by Afghan defense minister, effectively circumventing Karzai.
“His minister of defense can sign it, the government can sign it, somebody can accept responsibility for this,” Kerry told a gathering of NATO ministers in Brussels.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has urged the Kabul government to sign the so-called Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the US as a matter of urgency.
Washington is also warning that the global support for Afghanistan will fade, if President Karzai continues to delay signing the security pact.
Washington has rejected President Karzai’s suggestion of the signing to take place next year. The US has repeatedly said it will not wait until after the April 2014 presidential vote for the agreement to be to sealed.
Karzai has accused the US of not providing the country with military supplies in an attempt to pressure him to sign the controversial deal.