News / USA

Obama Warns Karzai on Post-2014 Troop Presence

FILE - A U.S. soldier is seen at the site of a suicide bombing at a police compound in the Surobi district of Kabul, Feb. 21, 2014.
FILE - A U.S. soldier is seen at the site of a suicide bombing at a police compound in the Surobi district of Kabul, Feb. 21, 2014.
VOA NewsDan Robinson
President Obama called Afghan President Karzai on Tuesday to reiterate that there will be no U.S. troop presence on the ground in Afghanistan unless the Afghan government signs a bilateral security agreement.

Before they spoke on the phone Tuesday, Obama and Karzai were not known to have spoken for months.

The Afghan leader has refused to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement that the United States and NATO insist is necessary to plan for a post-2014 troop presence to support counter-terrorism and training of Afghan forces.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney expressed growing concerns on Tuesday.

"The longer we go without a BSA, and we have been making this clear, the more challenging it will be to plan and to execute any U.S. mission," said Carney, adding  "Furthermore, the longer we go without a signed BSA, the more likely it will be that any post-2014 mission will be smaller in scale and ambition."

Asked later whether he could state that without signing of the agreement there will be no troops on the ground in Afghanistan beyond December 31, Carney said "absolutely."

Obama has directed the Pentagon to proceed with contingency planning to ensure, as a Defense Department statement said, that plans are in place to accomplish an orderly withdrawal by the end of the year.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called this a prudent step, given that Karzai has demonstrated it is unlikely he will sign the security accord, which would provide U.S. military personnel with what officials call "critical protections and authorities after 2014."

Hagel said the U.S. military will be moving people and equipment out of the Afghan war theater, but its force posture will provide "various options for U.S. and NATO political leaders."

Planning will continue, he added, for U.S. participation in a NATO-led mission focused on training, advising and assisting Afghan security forces, and a narrowly focused counterterrorism mission.

Hagel attends a meeting in Brussels this week of NATO and defense ministers of the International Security Force in Afghanistan.

In his call with Karzai, Obama made clear, according to Carney, that the U.S. is open to the signing of a security agreement later in the year.

Carney also was asked if the White House has reason to believe that any of the presidential candidates in Afghanistan would sign the accord.

" I don't think we would, given the experience we've had, predict with any great certainty what might happen. I would note that those who cover these issues have reported that candidates have suggested they support it.  But we will obviously wait to see what happens," he said.

Carney emphasized again that the U.S.-NATO policy goal has always depended on signing the accord, and the longer it takes the more likely a "zero option" becomes and the smaller any mission would be beyond 2014.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
by: Herbert Abrams
February 27, 2014 10:10 AM
Karzai is merely s symbol of what the place is. He wants America to pay him to be the targets that can not fight back. When we leave what will happen is the oppressor that remains will have better guns. Gods way to keep the remaining subjects in the stone age. If we have a reason to stay or leave choose a given area NOW and put up a sign gone fishing not coming back, period and see what happens tomorrow.

by: Sam t from: bay area sf
February 27, 2014 5:48 AM
to not set conditions is a not stand tall by what we say is also a mistake..we can be strong and leave Afghanistan without delay.

by: Bill from: Stepitz
February 27, 2014 12:17 AM

This is a difficult matter to wrap one's head around, but if you take a few minutes to think about the ramifications of the factual data shown below, I believe you will likely understand why I use such extreme language as "Nato's betrayal" of the trust that all of our NATO troops, who have served in Afghanistan, have placed in their NATO leaders.I believe that since all of these facts are now a part of history, as well as being a current event, it is only a matter of time before this terrible and absurd condition is recognized as being a complete collapse of thoughtful political and military leadership within NATO and among NATO nations. Since the condition outlined persists even today, I am humbly asking you, as a concerned citizen, to give it your personal attention in order to rectify the matter as soon as possible.

Below are the facts. Below them are the sources to substantiate the facts.

Factual Data:

NATO Commanders, the CIA, U.S. Congressmen and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime are all on record since the year 2000 ( see sources #1#3#5and# 6) as stating that Afghan opium trafficking is the #1, i.e. primary, source of financing for al-Queda and the Taliban.

Since 2001, i.e. since we went into Afghanistan, Afghan opium production has increased 3,000 %. ( not a typo; three thousand percent ) from 185 tons in 2001 to 5,500 tons in 2013 and the amount of land growing the opium has increased 2,600% ( from 8,000 hectares in 2001 to 209,000 hectares in 2013). (see source #2 pages 5 and 17)

NATO policy and U.S. policy have been, from a practical perspective, to "let it grow",( see sources #3 and#7 ) rather than spray the opium with herbicide or take other effective messures ( e.g. US forces DO spray coca fields in South America.) The, may I say idiotic and downright traitorous, "let it grow" posture of the American leadership ( by putting popularity among Afghans above the well being of NATO troops and above the so-called mission to "cut off funding" for al-Queda), is brutally obvious in the Washington Post source #7, i.e.:"It's almost the devil's own problem," CIA Director Michael V. Hayden told Congress last month. "Right now the issue is stability. . . . Going in there in itself and attacking the drug trade actually feeds the instability that you want to overcome." "Attacking the problem directly in terms of the drug trade . . . would undermine the attempt to gain popular support in the region," agreed Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. "There's a real conflict, I think."

by: Sean OReilly Gsc
February 26, 2014 8:18 AM
Dear brothers-and-sisters,
We have never left a theater of ops without some element of our mission left unfulfilled. It can be a frustrating and protracted process that is hard to reconcile with the insane amount of effort you have expended, 99% of your fellow American's are unable to grasp the significance of your accomplishments, but rest assured, that you have done your part, in spite of the constant obstacles and set backs. You have reset the standards for those that will follow you to serve. I am grateful, and proud beyond words to call you all my brothers and sisters. Now, let's pack this shit out by the numbers, and someone please turn out the lights on your way out the door.
-Grateful Vet. US Army (ret.)

by: dixiedog44 from: Bossier City, LA
February 26, 2014 7:19 AM
Karzai is a backstabbing foolish and egotistical big frog in a little pond. He will soon regret he threw away an opportunity to make a real friend of the U.S. Not one cent of aid in any form to that rogue nation. If there is the slightest hint of aggression against the U.S. supported or aided by Af-goon-is-bad air mail him a drone.

by: Haron from: Afghanistan
February 26, 2014 5:53 AM
now the world sit in a corner and they let the Afghan people in a big experiment. oh dear Obama what you do? all of the Afghan people know that Hamid "Karzai" demand from USA to Support Abdul Qayoum "Karzai" , Ashraf Ghani or Zalmai Rasoul. what are the illegitimacy [bastardy] of president Karzai are not the fault of Afghan people. in this country more people are in need of supports in different sectors. and these sectors are connect with International monetary fund supports from any country whether it is in Asia, Europe or US. now as a young boy where I acclaim the good activities of International community and USA and criticized the negative supports of International community and USA to our Government from 2009 in VOA website. today we have reached in a very serious and even a fragile period of time and you get a wrong decision on development of Afghanistan is anguish for those people whom watching and sharing opinion in VOA or other socialist websites. don't stand against us like North Korea. or I think you couldn't get success on Mars galaxy and you want to sanction the Mars galaxy now you succumbs the people of Afghanistan to problems as a revenge if this message could reach to you, I talk with you as a classmate: what, I expected that you may help us to come out from problems. but, unfortunately you get a decision that I am heartburn now.
In Response

by: dixiedog44 from: Bossier City, LA
February 26, 2014 7:27 AM
Sir, I sympathize with you and the common people. You have a corrupt egomaniac for a ruler, however, and will continue to suffer until your people decide you have had enough of his ill treatment and throw off the yoke of his self-serving government.
In Response

by: Dave from: USA
February 26, 2014 6:59 AM
Guess what? Don't care. Afghanistan pumps poison into the whole world in the form of heroin. I, personally, don't give a damn about the people of Afghanistan since they don't give a damn about people elsewhere. It's really as simple as that. We need a small, agile strike force (snake eaters) that targets militants for our drones. That's it. That's all. Surgical. It's cancer after all. The cancer of humanity is in the minds and fields of Afghanistan.

by: DC Miller from: Upstate NY
February 26, 2014 5:27 AM
Bring the Troops Home now. The occupation of Afghanistan has nothing to do with defending America and the federal debt is over $17 Trillion.

by: oldlamb from: Guangzhou
February 26, 2014 3:23 AM
The USA stupid president W.Bush opened a losing war in Afghanistan,Now it's time to finish this war.but the damage of USA reputation will never be finished. Instead the hatred from Islamic world is intensifying after the two war(Irag and afghanistan).No one beleave that the world has become more safe.
In Response

by: dixiedog44 from: Bossier City LA
February 26, 2014 7:32 AM
The U.S. was forced to respond to aggression in both instances. Better that we should respond now over there than wait for further terrorist murders over here. You are not an "oldlamb" but a treacherous oldsnake.

by: ali baba from: new york
February 25, 2014 10:13 PM
The united state troops will leave Afghisstan for ever. if the president of that country fail to control his is his business. The country will not be controlled . the country is controlled by psychopath called elder. they control drug business. They sexually abused boys and they called Bacha Bazi. . United state should waste our resources on that country. the only action united state has to do is destroying all drug fields .when all our troops are out of the country. let mother nature use its wisdom to settle their problem.

by: Climp Jones
February 25, 2014 7:16 PM
Too funny. Obama once again 'throwing' one his customary hissy fit's when his Port-Ah-Potty diplomacy fails to satisfy his warped vision of what reality should 'look' like.
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