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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Afghanistan: New U.S. withdrawal date 2024?

 Afghan president Karzai is seeking support for continuing the U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan a decade longer than is now scheduled. In 2014 Afghanistan is supposed to take over its own security but Karzai is trying to extend the NATO occupation until 2024.
    Instead of trying to get approval from parliament Karzai is planning a tribal jirga. 2,030 delegates have been invited to this meeting that is to last four or five days. The opening is set for this Wednesday (Nov. 16). The Taliban will probably try to attack the meeting.
    Any move to keep U.S. or other NATO troops in Afghanistan  for such an extended period is bound to derail any peace talks with the Taliban. However, the issue of peace talks it to be on the agenda even though this makes little sense. Some analysts think that Karzai is aiming to gain more control during the extended occupation. He may want all detention operations turned over to the Afghans, and night raids only be carried out by Afghan forces. However the specific agenda seems to be still secret.
   That Karzai is seeking this support is a clear indication that the U.S. intends to keep forces in Afghanistan long after the 2014 deadline for transfer of security to the Afghans. There seems to be almost no debate about this issue in the U.S. For more see this article, and also here.

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