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Taliban calls Loya Jirga 'council of traitors'

KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The Taliban said Wednesday "internal mercenaries" want to ensure international soldiers have a prolonged stay in Afghanistan.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday the U.S. and Afghan governments have "reached a general agreement" on a bilateral security agreement.

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The New York Times reported some U.S. troops could remain in Afghanistan past a 2014 withdrawal deadline set for international forces under the terms of the agreement. Carney said the text of the agreement needs support from the Loya Jirga, a tribal council, "before any agreement can be declared final."

The Taliban issued a statement Wednesday saying the Loya Jirga was a "council of traitors."

"The internal mercenaries want to guarantee the impunity of the crusade soldiers and their prolonged stay inside Afghanistan," the conservative Muslim group said.

The Taliban accused Afghan President Hamid Karzai of turning to leaders in Afghanistan that are "perfidious people" when facing questions that are in contradiction with national interests.

The Times reported the Loya Jirga meets Thursday to consider how many U.S. troops will remain after 2014 and what role they'd play in the country. Prosecution for U.S. troops suspected of committing crimes in Afghanistan is also under consideration.

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