Afghan President: U.S. Should Leave, Not Signing Security Agreement Without Peace Talks (on Afghanistan, Not Syria or Israel-Palestine)

let's pretend it's the 90s, or notUS Embassy in KabulHamid Karzai wants the U.S. to start peace talks with the Taliban as a condition to signing a security agreement that would govern the American military presence in Afghanistan after this year’s “withdrawal,” the Afghan president said in a news conference this weekend. The as-yet unsigned agreement (full text) does not specify the level of U.S. and NATO troops to remain in Afghanistan after the end of 2014, although the Obama administration appears to be considering leaving about 10,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014, ”or none”. The U.S. also attempted to keep a residual force of 10,000 troops in Iraq past the withdrawal date set in a 2008 agreement between the U.S. and Iraq. Karzai, who is supposed to leave office after a presidential election in April he is not permitted to compete in, is not expected to sign the agreement, and has said previously he'd rather leave that decision up to his successor.

An attempt at peace talks fell apart fairly quickly last summer. Karzai, who skipped a peace conference in Qatar over “foreign conspiracies,” insisted Pakistan had to be a part of the conversation. The Taliban in Pakistan withdrew completely from the negotiating table in November, after electing a hardline commander to replace one killed in an apparent U.S. strike.

In his forthcoming memoirs, Bob Gates writes that President Obama was “convinced” the mission in Afghanistan would fail. Gates, Bush’s last and Obama’s first secretary of defense, left the cabinet a year and a half before John Kerry joined as secretary of state, but given Kerry’s intense focus on peace talks over the Syrian civil war and Israel-Palestine, it appears he shares Obama’s pessimistic outlook. Yet neither, either, appears ready to do the hard work of extricating the U.S. from the Afghanistan situation, choosing instead to operate based on political calculations as thousands of U.S. and NATO troops remain in Afghanistan with no discernible purpose.

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  • wareagle||

    if US troops stay after this year, then it's not really a withdrawal, is it? Unless that word, too, has undergone redefinition.

  • pan fried wylie||

    I suspect "Occupation" has been redefined in the process.

  • Sevo||

    "if US troops stay after this year, then it's not really a withdrawal, is it?"

    If Bush were in office, no, absolutely NOT! And GET OUT NOW!
    But Obo's in office so, see, he's ending wars the world over and he's so dreamy!

  • GILMORE||

    They call it a Hangover now. Withdrawal is so 1970s

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Karzai has betrayed America and sided with Al-Qaeda.

    Drone him.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Better yet, wait until he attends a wedding, then release the drones.

  • Cytotoxic||

    That's a really good idea and it should have been carried out years ago.

  • Aresen||

    Hamid Karzai is definitely on my list of "leaders I would like to see become a lamp-post decoration."

  • GILMORE||

    You joke...

    ...but that is in fact what the Taliban did to the *last* afghan president.

    Well, after they cut his balls off.

    "Najibullah was at the UN compound when the Taliban soldiers came for him on 27 September 1996. He was castrated[56] before the Taliban dragged him to death behind a truck in the streets. His blood-soaked body was hung from a traffic light.[57] His brother Shahpur Ahmadzai was given the same treatment.[58] Najibullah's and his brother's body were hanged on public display to show the public that a new era had begun"

    I'd guess Karzai personally has a more detailed and well-planned 'withdrawal' than do ISAF.

  • GILMORE||

    By the way, they really need to add that one to the list of "UNs Greatest Peacekeeping Hits", along with Rwanda, Srebrenica, Congo, etc.

    Or it would make a great T-shirt =

    "I appealed to the UN for security, but all I got was this lousy T-shirt (and my balls cut off)"

  • Ken Shultz||

    Tolstoy wrote something in the afterward to War and Peace about how much sooner the French would have left if only his fellow countrymen had stopped attacking the French long enough to let Napoleon retreat.

    Maybe somebody should clue in the Taliban. Maybe it's time for them to let us catch our breath long enough to declare victory and lose.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Maybe somebody should clue in the Taliban. Maybe it's time for them to let us catch our breath long enough to declare victory and lose.

    But the Taliban and the US military need each other like Team RED and Team BLUE need each other. Without the other, one cannot exist and hold any kind of true power over others.

  • Acosmist||

    Leave quietly in the middle of the night, leave plenty of rope behind. See if the people there can make any use of it on Karzai.

  • RightNut||

    Bob Gates writes that President Obama was “convinced” the mission in Afghanistan would fail.

    To me this makes Obama worse than Bush.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Oh, he'd sell America's interests down the river so long as it's in his personal political interests to do so--for sure.

    More Americans die in Afghanistan, but what does he care? He's getting reelected, and isn't that what's really important?

  • Bam!||

    More Americans die in Afghanistan, but what does he care? He's getting reelected, and isn't that what's really important?

    That pretty much sums up modern politics.

  • Swiss Servator, Befehl!||

    Karzai will end up in London before long. All the old timers in that country have experience in flight before execution...

  • GILMORE||

    One of my main bitches about Obama was that his apparent clarity-of-thought in his campaign of ending Iraq and re-committing to some kind of secured objective in Afghanistan was in fact appealing, and something I think people like Bob Gates and others fully supported.... but which in fact was nothing other than a bullshit headfake to simply disown his predecessors signature action, and delay any real 'strategic decision' on Afghanistan as long as possible = nay, just put it on ice until someone else comes along...

    One might miss the distinction, but the point is on *focus and commitment to a specific end-state*. There was none. Gates said as much as well in his bio, noting that the president supported sending 30,000 more troops...but apparently did so with no further purpose than to 'say he did', and then paper the whole thing over.

    one can certainly blame GWB for errors made. Obama's failures are primarily the result of willfully choosing NOT TO CHOOSE AT ALL.

    To use a Bushism = I think the Obama admin would gratefully accept 'the soft bigotry of low expectations' as their operating standard. There is no interest in any particular objective other than to Get By enough until the next election.

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