The Obama administration says there may be no residual force in Afghanistan after 2014 unless President Hamid Karzai signs a new security agreement sooner rather than later.
Karzai, who met Monday with national security adviser Susan Rice, wants additions to the proposed agreement, and says he will not sign it until after the Afghan elections in April.
In a statement, the Obama administration said Rice told Karzai that, “without a prompt signature, the U.S. would have no choice but to initiate planning for a post-2014 future in which there would be no U.S. or NATO troop presence in Afghanistan.”
The U.S. and allies will end combat operations in Afghanistan after 2014, but are considering the maintenance of a residual force to help train Afghan forces and perform counterterrorism operations.
The statement said that Rice “stressed” to Karzai that “we have concluded negotiations and that deferring the signature of the agreement until after next year’s elections is not viable, as it would not provide the United States and NATO allies the clarity necessary to plan for a potential post-2014 military presence.”
Rice left Afghanistan on Tuesday.
“Karzai told Rice that he would sign only after the United States helps his government begin peace talks with the Taliban and agrees to release all 17 Afghan citizens being held in the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, according to Afghan and U.S. officials. see more