President Barack Obama made a sad and relenting phone call Tuesday to Hamid Karzai to inform him of the decision that the U.S. would be leaving Afghanistan due to the absence of a long term security agreement, reported The New York Times on Wednesday.
The U.S. has been in Afghanistan since after 9/11 with NATO troops to keep out Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgents. So, why would the U.S. leave Afghanistan? It does not make sense to spill blood for 13 years and leave out the front door while your targeted enemy returns on Main street Kabul.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel despite visits to Afghanistan and months of efforts has been unable to secure the bilateral security agreement, B.S.A. None of the leadership in the Pentagon or Washington has been able to accomplish this so that the Taliban and other insurgents would remain defeated.
The U.S. base at Bagram provides us with a drone base for security and stability for neighbors Pakistan and India. It was from a drone base in Afghanistan that the U.S. sent its Navy Seals to get Osama bin Laden. Without the drone base in Afghanistan it makes the U.S. look elsewhere for a base and the distance may be too far from Pakistan and India to provide quick intervention.
Karzai signed a regional pact with Iran last December 8 while Hagel visited U.S. troops in Afghanistan but would not meet with Hagel.
Karzai wants new leadership after the elections in April to deal with the issue. The President made it clear that the forces may be smaller in whatever residual forces would be available to Afghanistan.
The President was blunt in his comments it helps the Taliban gain strength. “It is having an effect on the enemy, and in some ways I think encourages them, and intelligence supports that,” said General Dempsy in an interview with The Associated Press reported in today's The New York Times.
‘Should we have a B.S.A. and a willing and committed partner in the Afghan government, a limited post-2014 mission focused on training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces and going after the remnants of core Al Qaeda could be in the interests of the United States and Afghanistan,’ the White House said in a statement issued after the call.
Two issues of timing exist. First, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel began his meeting with NATO in Brussels today to discuss the logistics of the American troop reduction in Afghanistan and the shape of a potential postwar force with other NATO alliance partners.
Second, Karzai told Obama that his successor should sign the agreement. Candidates for the position have told the Obama administration that they would favor and sign a B.S.A. However, if there is not a clear winner in the election it could take months or runoff elections.
Kabul is already in a tenuous position fighting to maintain its grip and keep Taliban forces out. Analysts said that the administration viewed the release of 65 prisoners from prison in Afghanistan this month as a strain to the relations between the Obama administration and Karzai. The released prisoners had the blood of American Soldiers on their hands. Karzai responded to U.S. protests from the Obama administration that we should not be concerned with Afghan proceedings.
The question of how the U.S. will choose to position itself in the Central to South Asia. ‘Making it about President Karzai is simply not the right thing to do,’ said Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States. ‘President Obama needs to decide what’s in America’s interest, and whether America can continue to fight global terrorism without an effective military presence in the Central and South Asian Theater of war.’
To view more articles on relations of the U.S. and Afghanistan see the list below in Author’s suggestions and the video atop this article with Jerry Seib of the WSJ on the events of the last two days with President Obama in the White House and Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel in Brussels at the Nato meeting.
I am on Twitter Victoria Wagner@Victoriaross888