US considers complete pullout from Afghanistan by 2014
US President Barack Obama is considering a speedier and possibly even more complete withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but a decision will no be made soon, the White House said Tuesday, dpa reported."This is not a decision that's imminent," said White House spokesman Jay Carney. "These are ongoing negotiations."
The United States and Afghanistan are in negotiations over whether a US residual force should remain after combat operations end in 2014. Obama is committed to ending US military involvement in Afghanistan by then, but there have been negotiations about leaving a small force behind.
A "zero option" that would leave no American troops there after 2014 is also being considered. Carney said that option "has always been available," but the final decision will be based on "political objectives" that include the stability and security of Afghanistan.
This idea, however, has hit difficulties because the relationship between Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai has deteriorated over various issues, including negotiations with the Tabliban over the way forward after US withdrawal.
Carney characterized the relationship between Obama and Karzai as sometimes "up and down," but said that wasn't any different from usual diplomatic relationships. Karzai has objected to the US decision to open talks with the opposition Taliban.
Carney said final decisions will be based on what is best for Americans and Afghans. And he said no matter how many troops stay in the country, the US "will continue to be committed to Afghanistan beyond 2014."
Afghan parliamentarian Shukria Barakzai and other lawmakers are concerned about the statements coming from the White House, according to US public radio. Barakzai and the others told National Public that Radio Afghan security forces won't be ready to stand on their own without continued training and support from US forces.