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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     Previous    
    by: Merlinsscience from: America
    February 25, 2014 7:03 PM
    This is a case of Karzai continuing to act the fool on the world stage whilst our administration continues to place the "bar" just out of reach because they actually do want to withdraw. It's hilarious... It's like watching two guys act like they want to fight while gesturing to the friends to "hold me back". Both intend to walk away the winner, Afghanistan will suffer and the US will sit back and watch as the country dissolves into chaos again (like Iraq). This will make two-in-a-row for "no BSA" for this awesome administration.
    In Response

    by: Gmc from: New York
    February 27, 2014 6:09 AM
    These were two wars that never should have happened and this administration was handed this mess by the previous awesome administration.

    by: britt walden from: nc
    February 25, 2014 7:02 PM
    GOOD! WE HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING. LOST THE LIVES OF OUR YOUNG MEN, CAUSED HATE TO FLOURISH, AND IN THE DAMN HOLE FOR TRILLIONS. THIS WHILE THE BANKS ARE/HAVE BEEN BAILED OUT AND THE CITIZENS WHO NEED HELP IN MANY WAYS BEING CALLED "LAZY". TIME TO TAKE CARE OF THIS COUNTRY. TERM LIMITS AND RECALL FOR ALL ELECTED CITIZENS.

    by: Rick from: WV
    February 25, 2014 6:53 PM
    American people to obama...NO troops in Afghanistan period.

    by: Affe from: Ghani
    February 25, 2014 6:35 PM
    US/NATO security personnel in addition to the private contractors should not have immunity if they commit war crimes against civilians which is probably the focal point why the agreement is not being signed. I mean why else would someone refuse an umbrella of security if it did not come with heinous crimes as the world has witnessed being committed by NATO troops adn their allies against innocent men, women and children. And to make matters worse, the perps are still on the loose. Countries cannot be made secure and independent if war crimes are perpetuated by those in charge.

    by: nick from: cali
    February 25, 2014 6:25 PM
    some people's are meant to disappear from the earth. we've seen it many times throughout human history. if they can't evolve from their primitive mindsets, then they should not be stopped from their own destruction at their own hands.

    by: James Malenfant from: Phoenix, Arizona
    February 25, 2014 6:24 PM
    If Karazi doesn't want us there, fine. We can leave and take every scrap of U.S. property with us. His life expectancy is 15 minutes after we pull out. Have a great day!

    by: Anonymous
    February 25, 2014 6:17 PM
    Karzai is a thief that's playing both sides of the fence in an effort to further enrich himself. Why do we support these bastards for so long if we know who they are?

    by: johnnymar from: 32218
    February 25, 2014 4:37 PM
    FINALLY! He's doing what he promised all the way back in 2008 ("You can take that to the bank....). Apparently, the bank went bankrupt. It's among the many promises Obama Bin Lyin' has broken.

    by: JKF2 from: GREAT NORTH (Canada)
    February 25, 2014 2:14 PM
    Terminating the mission in Afghanistan, for the US/NATO, is a very courageous, wise and best possible outcome for the West. There can be no question, in my opinion, that US/NATO sacrifices went well out of the norm to try and establish the basis of a stable and democratic gvmt in Afghanistan. It is unfortunate, that the Karzai gvmt and other elements in Afghanistan, failed to take advantage and support the Western efforts, to greatly improve the conditions of life for the average Afghan citizen.

    The upper elites of Afghanistan, especially those associated with their gvmt, appear to have done quite well for themselves; reports in the media of villas, bank accounts and great luxuries, both inside and outside of Afghanistan, would appear to indicate that those that did well, and did so at the expense of the average Afghan. Further privations and risk taking by NATO forces and Western civilians, makes no real sense.

    Tribalism has not diminished, if any thing it is rising. Trying to build a democratic, safe, secure and prosperous nation, can only be done if that is what the majority of the people want; it takes sacrifices to do so, the most clear indicator that the people do not want to progress is the fact that drug production, heroin, is at is highest ever, rather than feed food to the people, the intent is to feed drugs to the world. In my view no good can come of it.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    February 25, 2014 11:27 PM
    TRUTH BE TOLD...... Not one US military man or woman died or was wounded for Karzai or the Afghan people or country..
    The US invaded Afghanistan to avenge the 09-11-2001 Al-Qaeda attack on the US .. AND .. to defeat the Taliban government, who supported and provided training bases to the Bin laden Al-Qaeda terrorists...
    The US didn't invade Afghanistan to bring freedom or Democracy to the Afghan people, or their country, they did it to avenge 09-11-2001..
    The US wants to leave about 15,000 troops to operate the (CIA) controlled killer drones and Navy Seals in Afghanistan, to kill the (suspected) enemies like Al-Qaeda, that would attack America.. and not to DEFEND the Afghans...
    Karzai knows what the US wants, and it's not for protecting Afghans.. Plus the US promised old refurbished attack helicopters and old antiquated refurbished war planes that have never been delivered, and armored vehicles and artillery that US troops are destroying before the leave..
    WITH what is the US training the Afghan army with....... REALLY
    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    February 25, 2014 10:20 PM
    The people of Afghanistan are in stone age mentality. united state has tried for years to develop that country and it was a waste. we spend trillion dollar and over one thousand lives and no dramatic change on that country. it is history . what ever happen in that country it is not our business
    In Response

    by: Climp Jones
    February 25, 2014 7:20 PM
    shouldn't you be busy grooming Mayor Ford's torso and back hair then oiling him down with walrus fat?
    In Response

    by: Mike Duffy
    February 25, 2014 7:13 PM
    Great comment, JKF2. The Afgan people are 200 years from civilization.
    In Response

    by: Ridha Fellah from: usa
    February 25, 2014 7:02 PM
    JKF2 Great analysis. Totally agree with you.We gotta get out of this mess. Let them kill themselves
    Comments page of 2
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