Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Is that an Afghan SOFA you have?

In a previous CAAFlog discussion, here, we have mentioned the lack of a Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Afghanistan. I was still under the impression that no SOFA between the U.S. and Afghanistan was in place . . . until yesterday. In an interview with the Associated Press, Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker seemed to indicate that such a SOFA did exist. Here is the excerpt:

QUESTION: Is -- given the unprecedented nature of the -- well, except for perhaps Afghanistan and dealing with it, is there a model or something that you can look to, obviously with revisions for the country specific, is there anything out there that resembles this already? You talk about security agreements with a hundred other countries, but essentially, you know, there's no combat going on in South Korea, there's no combat in Japan, there's no combat in lots of places where there's SOFA agreements.
CROCKER: I think it's going to be a combination of all of those things. Again, looking at agreements that we do have because there are going to be elements of those that are probably pretty common across the board, it will be looking at existing authorities which again are granted through the Security Council Resolution, but figuring out how best to carry those forward from a multilateral to a bilateral context. Looking at precedents in Afghanistan is the one that comes to mind and might be useful there. But then a lot of this is going to be unique to the situation in Iraq.
QUESTION: And what does this do -- and what will it do with CPA 17, particularly the contractor issue?
CROCKER: Yeah, the question of immunities? Yeah, that clearly is going to be part of the negotiation.
QUESTION: Is that included in the Afghan agreement?
CROCKER: I don't know. I don't know. I don't believe the Afghan agreement goes into detail on the immunity issue.

(emphasis added) See the full roundtable transcript here. You tell me, does that suggest there is a signed Afghan-U.S. SOFA? He seemed to back pedal in that last answer, as if he had said something he shouldn't have, or did he just mispeak? If any of our intrepid readers have gouge on this topic please share in the comments, exactly why we allow anonymous comments.


Anonymous said...

There could just be a de facto SOFA resulting from the hodgepodge of interim agreements and administrative rules previously issued. The same situation exists in Iraq. There is no SOFA per se, but the various CPA orders and various other agreements achieve a similar result.

Another explanation is that there is some kind of signed agreement, but we don’t call it a SOFA. Some countries in that region are just plain unwilling to enter into anything formally labeled as a SOFA. They associate the term “SOFA” with “long term occupation” as in Japan and Germany. Accordingly, we have signed agreements with countries that delineate all the SOFA-like issues, e.g., criminal jurisdiction/immunity, taxation, etc., but are just called something else. They are also usually classified.

Anonymous said...


The fact these unwritten agreements exist is classified. Also, the fact they are classified is classified. I hope none of the security folks frequents this blog and notices your breach.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know about the NATO SOFA? If US troops are under NATO control then the SOFA that applies to NATO would cover them and not some bilateral SOFA. My experience is that NATO SOFAs are usually drafted with the best interests of the US in mind regardless.

rconway said...

Nice Article on "Is that an Afghan SOFA you have?", although the language you used was a little technical I was able to get some part of it. I would suggest you explain the same with a few examples to make it easy to understand for people who are new to this discussion.
Ricky Conway