February 25, 2014

This is welcome news, though I'm certain Dick Cheney's head will explode. Hamid Karzai has been playing coy games over the final agreements to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan and the White House seems to be over it.


U.S. President Barack Obama has told the Pentagon to prepare for the possibility that the United States will not leave behind any troops in Afghanistan after its troop drawdown at the end of this year, the White House said on Tuesday.

Obama said he had given the order to the Pentagon in a phone call on Tuesday to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has refused to sign a bilateral security agreement that the United States insists it must have before agreeing to leave a contingent of troops behind.

That security agreement has been agreed to by Afghan leaders. The only one standing in its way is Karzai.

What's at stake for Afghanistan:

But without a deal, the US is unlikely to part with the $4bn (£2.50bn) a year needed to pay the Afghan army, or provide the helicopters and other equipment promised.

Many Afghans feel that the imperfect deal is the only protection they have against powerful neighbours. One of Karzai's security advisers warned parliament that without the agreement the country would be isolated "among wolves", and his military chief asked opponents of the deal to say where else they would come up with police and army funding.

Meanwhile, apart from the political and military issues, the Afghan people continue to suffer extreme poverty at the hands of extremists and warlords. We're better off out of there, so let Karzai stall and we'll all just come home.

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