News / USA

Senators Press to Keep Some US Troops in Afghanistan

U.S. soldiers search the site where a suicide attacker rammed a car bomb into a NATO convoy, killing two foreign civilian contractors, in the Afghan capital Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 10, 2014.
U.S. soldiers search the site where a suicide attacker rammed a car bomb into a NATO convoy, killing two foreign civilian contractors, in the Afghan capital Kabul, Afghanistan, Feb. 10, 2014.
Michael Bowman
American lawmakers reacted sharply Wednesday to President Barack Obama’s directive to the U.S. military to prepare for the withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan if no long-term security agreement is finalized with Kabul.

Many legislators would like to see a residual force remain in Afghanistan, for training and other puposes, but some concede that may not be possible.

Obama took action Tuesday to back up what his administration has been saying for months: absent a bilateral security agreement, or BSA, between the U.S. and Afghanistan, all American troops will depart the country by the end of this year.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he understood Obama was frustrated by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign the document.

“The longer we have to wait for a BSA, the harder it is to plan militarily,” he said.

Graham worried that an Afghanistan left to fend for itself would descend into the chaos and violence that has beset Iraq since U.S. forces left that country - a view shared by fellow Republican Senator Johnny Isakson.

“We need to leave a presence in Afghanistan. We made a mistake not leaving one in Iraq. And I hope, whatever the president negotiated, we leave a presence to protect the [U.S.] assets [in Afghanistan], and also to have a deployment if we need it in the future,” he said.

Other lawmakers contend that U.S. troops have already been in Afghanistan too long, and that scarce government resources should be redirected toward domestic needs. As early as 2011, when Obama first announced a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan, independent Senator Bernie Sanders said Afghanistan must take full responsibility for its security. He urged a U.S. withdrawal “at significantly faster speed and greater scope” than the administration’s timeline.

Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said finalizing a BSA with Afghanistan would be in both countries’ best interests. But she added the United States “may not have a choice” except to withdraw if the accord is not finalized. She said President Karzai - or whoever succeeded him after this year’s elections - must understand that Americans have soured on open-ended foreign military commitments. 

“The country is war-weary. We have had troops in a war zone for over 10 years now. I think the country wants to bring those servicemen and women home, wants to focus on the challenges we face here at home,” she said.

President Karzai has objected to U.S. military tactics in his country, especially raids on Afghan homes. His spokesman, Faiq Wahidi, repeated the president's demands.

"This agreement must reflect and mean peace to the people of Afghanistan," the spokesman says, "And whenever the Afghan people are convinced that their wish will be met, the agreement will certainly be signed,” he said.

Afghan lawmakers reportedly support the BSA by an overwhelming margin, and many presidential hopefuls preparing for the election, now less than two months away, have said they would sign the accord upon taking office if Karzai failed to do so.

For now, Senator Graham is urging patience, even if that means waiting for a new Afghan president leader to sign the bilateral security agreement. He added, however, “The longer we wait, the more difficult it gets.”

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Comment Sorting
by: pako from: pako
February 27, 2014 12:13 AM
Israel does to the Palestinians the Holocaust. So the Palestinians to fight Israel. Israel has sold a plot of the American language to justify this holocaust., And America was dragged to war and killed in these wars. America a huge advantage against Palestinians. Where in the World? Where is sanity? Why America will not impose sanctions on Israel?. Because interests?. America has fallen to the lies of Israel enough. America needs to work harder and start to take action against the crimes of Israel. America should not give up on the peace process. Kerry should keep pushing and pushing and pushing. Kerry did not need to address and take to heart the barking of the extreme right in Israel. Because that can not continue.

by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos
February 26, 2014 5:04 PM
Karzai has is and will always be a problem because he is a sinking ship working and fighting to install his own man.

by: ali baba from: new york
February 26, 2014 4:39 PM
we should not keep any troops in the Afghanistan. it is not our country and keep some troops will cause security for them and many lives could lost. Afghanistan .problems will not be is not our business. it is the country living in stone age mentality and it will not get better . they continue killing each other .they will continue planting drugs. they continue Bacha bazi..we should not spend a penny on that country again

by: Rob Swift from: Great Britain
February 26, 2014 4:08 PM
So far as I am aware there is some 40 tons of the brown sold by the PKK (a terrorist organisation) into Europe here annually which represents 90 per cent of the heroine trade. That is apart from the so called illegal trade. Please tell me why President Obama should put American lives and futures on the line to support that.

by: Peter Dow from: Scotland
February 26, 2014 3:23 PM
"America's longest war will finally be over" President Barack Obama, State of the Union Speech 2014.

It's not over. We've not got justice against Pakistan for its role as state sponsors of Al Qaeda, Bin Laden and 9/11. Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan where he and the terrorist group he founded, Al-Qaeda, which attacked the US on 9/11, was hosted and sponsored by the Pakistani military intelligence.

The same Pakistani military given $10 billion in military aid (and $ billions more in civil aid) by the US since 2001 has its intelligence service, the ISI, actually SUPPORTING, RECRUITING, TRAINING, SUPPLYING AND DIRECTING THE TALIBAN against our forces in Afghanistan and also sponsors Al Qaeda for world-wide terrorism like on 9/11.

So the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups based in Pakistani territory are secret agents, proxies, irregular forces of the Pakistani military.

The Taliban and Al Qaeda don't wear Pakistani military uniform of course, because that would give the game away, even to the fools who run the Pentagon and NATO.

The evidence for Pakistan's secret terrorist war against the West can be viewed in the BBC's "SECRET PAKISTAN" videos.
Part 1 Double Cross
Part 2 Backlash

If we withdraw our forces from Afghanistan, Pakistan will have got off with 9/11, think it has made a fool of the US, will see the US's retreat from Afghanistan as Pakistan's victory and a green light for Pakistan to go on the offensive, perhaps giving (claiming theft) one of Pakistan's nuclear weapons to Al-Qaeda to use the nuke to blow up an American city or metro killing far more people than were killed in 9/11.

Then Pakistan will demand maybe $100 billion a year from the US to "help to secure" its nuclear weapons.

We are fools if we think this war is over just because we bring our troops home. It's very far from over.

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