US Secretary of State John Kerry and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have wrapped up two days of talks without reaching a deal on a bilateral security pact.
The US wants immunity for its troops and to retain legal jurisdiction.
After the meeting, Kerry made it clear that the security deal hung on the issue of immunity.
“We need to say that if the issue of jurisdiction
cannot be resolved, then unfortunately there cannot be a bilateral security agreement,” he said. “So we hope that will be resolved and it is up to the Afghan people, as it should be.”
The security pact would determine how many US troops could remain in Afghanistan after 2014 when most foreign forces are due to pull out of the country.
But the US insists it cannot agree a deal unless it is granted the exclusive right to try US troops who break Afghan law back in the United States.
Karzai says he cannot decide the issue, but must put it to the Loya Jirga – an assembly of Afghan elders and leaders – to decide.