Obama, Karzai Discuss Afghanistan Drawdown at White House Press Conference

Short on specific numbers


top men

President Barack Obama and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, met at the White House today as plans emerged for a possible complete withdrawal of U.S. troops at the 2014 deadline. The meeting came with an announcement that a drawdown of U.S. troops would actually begin this spring, with U.S. forces moving into a "support role."

"What that translates into precisely… is something that isn't yet fully determined," the president said in response to a question about how fast the drawdown would be or how many troops might remain after 2014. Obama did say that what comes after 2014 "is a very limited mission [training and assisting Afghan forces and hunting down remnants of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates] and it is not one that would require the same kind of footprint, obviously, that we've had in Afghanistan over the past ten years."

For his part, Karzai told reporters it wasn't for Afghanistan to decide those specifics. "It's an issue for the United States," he said. "Numbers are not going to make a difference to the situation in Afghanistan. It's the broader relationship that will make a difference to Afghanistan and beyond in the region."

The major sticking point appeared to be immunity for U.S. troops, which Obama noted is something U.S. troops enjoy everywhere they're stationed. Apparently, if immunity is granted, the U.S. presence in Afghanistan is envisioned, at least by Karzai, to be like the U.S. presence in Germany or Turkey.

Despite the talking today, the U.S. and Afghanistan have already entered a broad agreement keeping U.S. troops in Afghanistan for a decade past 2014. As recently as two months ago, one Marine General told Congress troops would certainly have to stay past 2014 to present a "clear and compelling narrative of commitment" in Afghanistan. It appears administration officials would like to keep 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan past 2014.

The president sidestepped a question about whether the war in Afghanistan was worth the cost in blood and treasure, talking instead about why the U.S. went to war and how the U.S. was able to "decapitate" Al-Qaeda, while Karzai doubled down on his assertion that corruption in his country is largely due to foreign influence.

Of note, while the Afghan president discussed how he would have to sell the idea of immunity and U.S. presence in Afghanistan to the Afghan people, there was no mention of the American people's, or even Congress', say on the future role of the U.S. in Afghanistan. 

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  1. Please, oh please, lets GTFO. Declare victory and go home. Even if we give 10% of the combat spending as foreign aid, its a big win.

    1. You do realize that the money we save on any cessation of combat operations in Afghanistan is revenue to this White House and will be spent elsewhere.

      1. We don’t have a spending problem.

        1. Nor do we have a killing problem.

          1. Or a health care problem.

            1. I guess those go hand in hand. Say, are we talking about Death Panels?

              1. Ah pish tush, Pro’L Dib. They aren’t “death panels”. The preferred nomenclature is “dearth panels”. As in, “There will be a dearth of medical care.”

                Remember, all those band-aids, tissues, and aspirins add up over time.

                Fun Medical Fact: The last time Mama Maximus was in the hospital, being an accountant, she asked for an itemized bill after DC’d. One of the itemizations was, and I shit you not, “drainage reclamation devices” (at a whopping 50 USD). So she asked me what is was, and I had no idea, since she had nothing for WX drainage. After checking with billing, turns out it was for facial tissues.

                1. I know all about Dearth Panels, as you well know.

                2. Since most hospitals aren’t getting filthy rich, I suppose the extra bucks for your Mom’s kleenex goes to cover those who can’t or won’t pay for their
                  health care “rights.”

                3. No, no, no – we won’t call them death panels, or “dearth panels. Instead we’ll come up with a nice “scientific” sounding name. Something like “The Liverpool Care Pathway for the Dying Patient”. We’ll offer hospitals monetary incentives to do this.

                  Then we’ll act surprised when more and more marginal cases are pushed onto the pathway.


              2. see: Patient Centered Outcomes Research Center

        2. We don’t have a problem spending?

          1. Not at all. In fact, I must admit that the government does a fine job spending. I don’t know that I could spend so much money on so many pointless things. It’s a real skill.

            1. You’d think he has the spending habits of Teh Wimminz.


      2. Oh, sure. But its one less line item. Now we don’t have to fund war AND entitlements. Its one less thing for progressives to point to and scream “BUT THEY GET THAT! ENTITLEMENTS!!!”

  2. “What that translates into precisely? is something that isn’t yet fully determined,” the president said…

    That’s pretty precise.

  3. Well, I’m glad that’s settled. And you guys thought he wasn’t the Peace President?.

    1. Right now its all talk, talk, talk. Like his plan to cut the deficit in half in four years.

      1. What? He’s totally working on that, while ending the wars on women, drugs and the gays! Obama always follows through, especially on the difficult stuff, and I’m being totally serious.

        1. He appears to be working on gun control before those other things.

      2. Oh, I forgot to call you a racist. Racist!

      3. He meant the deficit between people having money and the government having money.

        1. And hence, the TRILLION USD COIN! You clearly lack vision, Pro’L Dib. And to think you were lobbying for the Office of Censor…

          1. I should just declare myself Censor in a sort of reverse coup, then start declaring people as removed from office.

            Marmalard, dead! Niedermeyer, dead!

    2. Bin Laden is dead, GM is alive. The war in Iraq is over and the war in Afghanistan is about to be over. We’ve regained the respect and admiration from the world lost under the warmongering Bush and the economy would be doing much better if it weren’t for the GOP economic terrorist.

      –Paraphrase of several pro-Obama arguments made during the election

      1. Yep, there is no spending problem. So why won’t Our Glorious Leader just cut taxes to zero and be done with it?
        Apparently we can go on for ever not
        covering 40% of government spending, so why not 100%???

  4. It’s going to be shame in 2015 when Obama’s in Hawaii for Christmas and Karzai’s head will be nailed to lightpole in Kabul.

    1. Oh, with all the money Karzai’s stolen, I’m sure he’ll be able to fly his private jet out in time.

      1. Quadda…Khadd…Ghadd…whatever, THAT GUY thought the same thing, and look how he ended up.

        1. Ghaddafi thought his people loved him.

          1. They did, Spoony. To death.

          2. No one expected Qaddafi to try to escape. I think it was pretty clear his life would come to an end in Libya, one way or the other

            1. Ed, did you ever read about what happened to his Female Personal Goon Squad? I don’t have a link handy, but it was published in a Chinese rag that most of them met very gruesome (most of them being gang raped was the least of the horrors they experienced) demises.

              1. Wow no, will have to track that down

        2. Does Karzai have the same Messiah complex as Gaddafi Duck? Because the worst thing a dictator can do is believe his own propaganda.

          1. You know who else believed his own propaganda?

      2. Or he might arrive at the airfield in time to see his jet, mistresses and treasure lifting into the sunset.
        “So long and thanks for all the fish!”

  5. I do wonder if his offshore bank account is merely 9 figures, or if he has managed to steal even more from us.

  6. Dude is not making a whole lot of sense man!

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