Afghanistan's president has said he will not immediately sign a security deal with the United States, ignoring a recommendation by an assembly of Afghan elders and leaders that he do so by the end of the year.
Hamid Karzai spoke after the Loya Jirga issued its statement. He argued Afghanistan needed more time to ensure that the United States was committed to peace in the country.
Although he did not repeat his earlier preference that he would wait until the April elections, he reiterated the need for more time. He did not say when he would sign.
The chairman of the 2,500-member national consultative council approved the deal and asked that it be signed by the end of 2013.