UPDATE: Pakistan warns that Afghanistan will descend into civil war if the U.S. withdraws all its troops.
President Obama has told the Department of Defense to prepare for possibly leaving no American troops in Afghanistan at the end of the year.
As Reuters’ reporting explains, the news comes after Afghan President Hamid Karzai demonstrated hesitancy to agree to a security deal that the U.S. says is needed in order for American troops to stay in Afghanistan for training counter-terrorism operations.
Karzai released prisoners who the U.S. said were a security threat from a detention facility near Kabul earlier this month.
Obama conveyed the message in a phone call to Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who has been balking at signing a bilateral security agreement that the United States insists it must have before agreeing to leave a contingent of troops behind for counter-terrorism operations and training.
"Specifically, President Obama has asked the Pentagon to ensure that it has adequate plans in place to accomplish an orderly withdrawal by the end of the year should the United States not keep any troops in Afghanistan after 2014," the White House said.
Related previous coverage from Reason:
Earlier this month, Steve Chapman wrote on our wasted effort in Afghanistan.
Reason 24/7 noted Gallup reported earlier this month that for the first time since 2001 more American believe that the war in Afghanistan was a mistake than believe it was a good idea.
Read more from Reason.com on Afghanistan here.
UPDATE: The Pentagon announced it will have a "placeholder" budget for overseas operations for the next fiscal year, but will introduce a supplemental war budget later once the United States made a final determination on its next steps in (or out of) Afghanistan.