KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai brusquely rejected Sunday the recommendations of a special grand council he personally convened to vote on whether Afghanistan should sign a security agreement with the United States. After the council, or loya jirga, enthusiastically endorsed the pact, Karzai refused to sign and launched an angry diatribe against the United States. It ended in a tense face-off with the elderly loya jirga chairman, who supports the deal.
It was a remarkably emotional and erratic display, even by a president notorious for unpredictability and volatility. It came after Karzai’s appointed loya jirga delegates pleaded with him to sign before a year’s-end deadline imposed by the United States.