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 notHamid 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

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

In his
memoirs, Bob Gates writes that President Obama was
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

from Hit & Run

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