Video: Will the US remain in Afghanistan until 2024?

posted at 3:21 pm on November 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama promised American voters that the US would end its operations in Afghanistan by next year, but NBC News reported last night on a new plan to continue training and support operations for another decade. The agreement being worked out with the Hamid Karzai government in Kabul would keep as many as 15,000 troops in the theater until at least 2024. In fact, the new agreement would have no timetable for full withdrawal at all:

While many Americans have been led to believe the war in Afghanistan will soon be over, a draft of a key U.S.-Afghan security deal obtained by NBC News shows the United States is prepared to maintain military outposts in Afghanistan for many years to come, and pay to support hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces.

The wide-ranging document, still unsigned by the United States and Afghanistan, has the potential to commit thousands of American troops to Afghanistan and spend billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars.

The document outlines what appears to be the start of a new, open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan in the name of training and continuing to fight al-Qaeda. The war in Afghanistan doesn’t seem to be ending, but renewed under new, scaled-down U.S.-Afghan terms. …

The copy of the draft — the full text is available here — is dated July 25, 2013. As a working draft, it is particularly revealing because it shows the back and forth negotiations, as U.S. and Afghan officials added words and struck out paragraphs. The changes are marked by annotations still revealed in the text. The document is a work in progress. US officials say there have been more changes since July. The draft, however, does indicate the scope of this possible agreement with major implications for Washington, Kabul, U.S. troops and the continuation of America’s longest war.

Taken as a whole, the document describes a basic U.S.-Afghan exchange. Afghanistan would allow Washington to operate military bases to train Afghan forces and conduct counter-terrorism operations against al-Qaeda after the current mission ends in 2014. For that foothold in this volatile mountain region wedged between Pakistan and Iran, the United States would agree to sustain and equip Afghanistan’s large security force, which the government in Kabul currently cannot afford. The deal, according to the text, would take effect on Jan. 1, 2015 and “shall remain in force until the end of 2024 and beyond.” It could be terminated by either Washington or Kabul with two years advance written notice.

The driving force behind this effort is almost certainly the eruption of al-Qaeda in Iraq after the full American withdrawal in 2010. Iraq also wanted American troops to remain with some changes in the relationship, but the Obama administration booted the negotiations and stuck with full withdrawal. That left AQ the opening to not just continue operations against the government in Baghdad but also to spread its operations to Syria and perhaps beyond. After nearly getting wiped out by the US military “surge” in 2007-8, AQ has bounced back to be a regional threat again.

With that in mind, it’s not surprising to see the White House looking for ways to stay on the ground in Afghanistan. The security forces there aren’t as capable as native Iraqi forces were in 2010, and they will need more help to fight off the Taliban and AQ. However, the Afghans want American troops to be restricted in operations, which makes sense politically for Karzai. Whether or not that makes sense for the US depends on what those restrictions will be. Eventually, as in Iraq, we’d want domestic forces to conduct operations with American logistical support, but it’s questionable when that will be practical.

This could just be a way to force the Taliban into serious negotiations, of course. So far they’ve mostly waited for us to leave. If it looks like we’re staying for good, that might prompt them to talk with Karzai about a political solution to the tribal civil war and an end to hosting terrorists in Afghanistan.

However, this will be a tough sell at home. The discussion on Morning Joe today shows why. If we’re waiting for the Karzai government to be able to secure itself, then 2024 might not be a realistic goal, either. This could end up being a Forever War, especially at this low level of resourcing.

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What…another lie…I’ve lost count…

PatriotRider on November 20, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Barack Obama promised American voters

A priest a rabbi and a drunk walk into a bar
:O

burrata on November 20, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Note for future wars in the region: Name the enemies (easy enough when in their own words they name us), annihilate them in totality, no apologies.

nobar on November 20, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Can we just call all of obozo’s lie Floodgate?

Flange on November 20, 2013 at 3:28 PM

If we’re waiting for the Karzai government to be able to secure itself, then 2024 might not be a realistic goal, either. This could end up being a Forever War, especially at this low level of resourcing.

Stop flying billions of dollars every month from DC to Kabul for the afghan drug lords and see how fast Karzai secures his country .

burrata on November 20, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Broken promise number elventeenhundred.

It’s probably Bush’s fault, or the obstructionist GOP./

Patriot Vet on November 20, 2013 at 3:30 PM

The blame is an equal part Obama and an equal part Picasso’s….

The Nerve on November 20, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Once upon a time there was a President who told lie after lie after lie…

albill on November 20, 2013 at 3:32 PM

While many Americans have been led to believe the war in Afghanistan will soon be over …

A war doesn’t “end” just because we leave that country. The Afghans will be fighting the Taliban for years to come, with us or without us.

Tony737 on November 20, 2013 at 3:35 PM

So, Obama wants the US to stay indefinitely in the strategically worthless place we should leave (Afghanistan), but he recklessly left the strategically valuable place we should have stayed (Iraq).

Hope-n-Change!

Sacramento on November 20, 2013 at 3:39 PM

SugahFix™

obama’s new branding, on anything.

Schadenfreude on November 20, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Tony737, hello there. I wish you’d comment more often.

Schadenfreude on November 20, 2013 at 3:39 PM

The driving force behind this effort is almost certainly the eruption of al-Qaeda in Iraq after the full American withdrawal in 2010.

And Mr. Smartpower didn’t see that coming huh?

Tony737 on November 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM

This wouldnt even be a question under President Juan McCain.

Jeddite on November 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM

I wonder what the Libs will say about this.

On Afghanistan:

By 2014, the war in Afghanistan will be over … I have set that timeline. I intend to keep it, because after a decade of war that’s cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is our own

– June 12, 2012, Baltimore, Maryland event

There are going to be droves of Libs pissed at Obozo if he does this.

Change./

Patriot Vet on November 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM

The agreement being worked out with the Hamid Karzai government in Kabul would keep as many as 15,000 troops targets for the Afghan army and police in the theater shooting gallery until at least 2024.

VorDaj on November 20, 2013 at 3:41 PM

And Mr. Smartpower didn’t see that coming huh?

Tony737 on November 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM

He did. It fits into his and his bros’ designs.

Schadenfreude on November 20, 2013 at 3:41 PM

There’s nothing like risking you life for heroin, Corrupt Karzi, and building bridges.

MoreLiberty on November 20, 2013 at 3:43 PM

The Afghans will be fighting the Taliban for years to come, with us or without us.

Tony737 on November 20, 2013 at 3:35 PM

psssst….the Afghans are the Taliban.

Whats really striking is the admission that without the presence of 10-15 US troops (I guess UN troops won’t do, huh?) the Afghan government will collapse.

Another pssst…..it isn’t the US troops (present or not) that controls the status of that country. Its the people who live there. And before we arrived by the boatload, they were in the position they were for the last 2,000 years. And when we leave, that’s what they’ll return to.

And we will have spent 15-20 years, trillions of dollars, and lost thousands of American lives. For what….exactly?

BobMbx on November 20, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Can we just move the Afghans to Pakistan? Wouldn’t that be easier?

Oil Can on November 20, 2013 at 3:45 PM

we’re waiting for the Karzai government to be able to secure itself

…Karzai needs to steal more money!……………….and all of JugEars brothers need to keep their money flowing in to use…against the U.S. !

KOOLAID2 on November 20, 2013 at 3:49 PM

And we will have spent 15-20 years, trillions of dollars, and lost thousands of American lives. For what….exactly?

BobMbx on November 20, 2013 at 3:44 PM

Medals and another star for our generals and tens of millions in the bank for Karzi and his relatives.

VorDaj on November 20, 2013 at 3:49 PM

NO BLOOD FOR OIL, errr… RARE EARTHS….errrr. for China.

WryTrvllr on November 20, 2013 at 3:51 PM

What sort of utopia are they imaging for that country that would make the contined expense of blood and treasure worth it? It’s false to argue our security because we are better positioned to kill the threats when we don’t have to worry about the internal partnership poltics.

Buddahpundit on November 20, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Tony737 Hello old friend, missed reading post from you. I always knew you where out their stalking. How’s the family?

D-fusit on November 20, 2013 at 3:57 PM

there go his “peace supporters” under the bus, at the cost of more US/Allied service members.

Keith_Indy on November 20, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Can’t leave?

America held hostage day 4,427

agmartin on November 20, 2013 at 4:36 PM

Bush had it right, don’t leave until the job is done.

Notice how the media is silent on the daily body count from the middle east now that O is president?

nazo311 on November 20, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Obama will claim there are no troops in Afghanistan even if there are troops in Afghanistan and once he is caught on the lie he will then say he did not know about it until he saw it on the news that day.

Then he will rebrand and remarket the the US troops as “Opium Poppy Forest Rangers”.

albill on November 20, 2013 at 5:43 PM

Get out of this Muslim pig sty now. They should have been bombed to the stone age and left to their coreligionist vultures.

pat on November 20, 2013 at 6:06 PM

ANOTHER BROKEN PROMISE from the Obama regime. I was watching a YouTube video of the 2012 Biden/Ryan vice-presidential debate because of a discussion on this very topic during the debate. Here are the words from the dolt known as the Vice-President of the U.S. They come at about 56 minutes into the debate

”In the meantime, what We said we would do, we would help train the Afghan military. It’s their responsibility to take over their own security. That’s why, with 50, (bumbling words) 49 of our allies in Afghanistan, we’ve agreed on a gradual draw down so we’re out of there by the year 20, (bumbling words) in the year 2014. My friend and the Governor say it’s based on conditions, which means it depends. It does not depend for us. It is the responsibility to the Afghans to take care of their own security. We have trained over 315,000, mostly without incident. There have been more than two dozen cases of green on blue, where Americans have been killed. If we do, (bumbling words) if the measures the military has taken do not take hold, we will not go on joint patrols, we will not train in the field, we will only train in the, ah, in the, on the bases that exist there. But we are leaving, we are leaving in 2014, period. And in the process, we are going to be saving over the next 10 years another 800 billion dollars. We’ve been in this war for over a decade, The primary objective is almost completed, now all we’re doing is putting the Kabul government in a position to be able to maintain their own security. It’s their responsibility, not America’s”.

I believe Biden was implying that any additional training of the Afghan military would occur from that evening on to the end of 2014, and that no U.S. troops of any kind would stay in Afghanistan to train…PERIOD

metroryder on November 20, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Unfortunately, King Barack and Johnny Kerry want to get out of Afghanistan as fast as possible. From their point of view, it’s one less distraction.

GarandFan on November 20, 2013 at 7:36 PM

The entire Afghan (and Iraq) enterprise was an idiot’s game, from start to (no) finish.

With a willful blindness about Islam as its basis.

All we needed to do was Bomb from afar, with devastating force.

That should be The Plan when Islamic countries cause trouble.

No boots on the ground, no nation-building, no negotiating.

Just a demonstration of might serious enough to stop the terroristic, theocratic crazies from enetertaining any further ideas about bothering such a dangerous and powerful enemy again.

Instead, we pussyfoot into troop-wasting chaos, predictable folly, complete failure, and become a self-gelded laughingstock fool of a nation.

profitsbeard on November 21, 2013 at 2:17 AM

Get out of this Muslim pig sty now. They should have been bombed to the stone age and left to their coreligionist vultures.

pat on November 20, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Pennsylvania avenue has some nice shops…….

WryTrvllr on November 21, 2013 at 2:40 PM