Wait, isn’t that what everyone wants to see? Wishful thinking does work, doesn’t it? Of course, the so-called threat is nothing more than rhetoric.
The White House is unwilling to allow more vagaries by the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, on the content of the security agreement that sets the terms of the stay of U.S. troops in the country after the end of the mandate of NATO in December, 2014.
The National Security Adviser to President Barack Obama, Susan Rice, traveled to Afghanistan this weekend to convince Karzai to sign the bilateral security pact, which was agreed upon last week, before the end of the year and not in April that is, as he said, but when he refused and demanded new conditions, Rice warned that if he did not sign it, the United States would be forced to permanently remove its military presence in the Asian nation.
“Without immediate signature, Afghanistan will have no alternative but to initiate plans for a post- 2014 future without the presence of American or NATO troops in Afghanistan,” said the National Security Adviser in a statement summarizing the meeting’s minutes.
At the meeting, the Afghan president said he would not sign the agreement until the U.S. undertook the assistance to his government to initiate the peace process with the Taliban and to free 17 Afghan citizens that are confined in Guantanamo Bay.
The Afghan President insisted that it would not sign the agreement until American soldiers stopped breaking into Afghan civilian homes. These operations are one of the axes of the NATO counter-terrorism strategy in that country.
Rice told Karzai that the delay in signing the agreement or the failure to sign would jeopardize $4 billion dollars in international aid to the Afghan armed forces that will arrive after 2014, in addition to another $4 billion dollars to “strengthen economic development” in the country.
The rejection of the agreement could be good news for Afghanistan, because if the Americans left, it is probable that the rest of frustrated NATO countries would also go. Those countries are interested in staying in Afghanistan beyond 2014, a position shared by the Americans who had announced that the conditions in the agreement allowed them to stay for another 10 years or so.
Obama himself had sent a memo to his Afghan counterpart in which he pledged that U.S. troops would remain in Afghanistan, but would not conduct raids on the terms of the agreement.
Since last week the Secretary of State, John Kerry, announced he finally reached the coveted pact on security, but that Karzai continued to make statements and to impose new conditions that have only served to add unnecessary uncertainty about the future of an arrangement that was closed.
First, Karzai conditioned the approval to the support of the majority from the Loya Jirga, the assembly of Afghan tribal leaders who have been meeting in Kabul from Thursday until Sunday.
After obtaining the written commitment, Karzai surprised the international community by ensuring that even though the Afghan council supported the pact, he would not sign until elections are held next April. This statement was contrary to the Pentagon’s plans which planned to have a waiting period of one year to begin transition operations between NATO troops and the Americans.
On Sunday, even though the members of the Loya Jirga endorsed the agreement and urged Karzai to sign it before 2014, Karzai reiterated his intention to do so long after.
Afghan leaders themselves are confused about the intentions Karzai pursues with this attitude. “For some, he is acting because he wants to remain relevant after elections in April, for others, his actions are aimed at starting something more with the U.S. and international powers ,” explained Tuesday John Podesta, former chief of staff during the Bill Clinton administration. “Karzai has gone from being maddeningly erratic to dangerously unpredictable” Podesta said.
The agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan establishes the conditions under which the contingent of American troops carried out their tasks in training and directing so-called anti-terror operations. These functions would be the only ones to be performed by the Americans on the ground, although that is hardly believable. Why? Because in the same agreement the Americans grant themselves immunity against all probable crimes committed. Why would you ask for complete immunity if all you are going to do is train Afghan troops?
The United States claimed that failure to reach a similar agreement in the case of Iraq was what forced Washington to withdraw its military presence after October 2011. This is absolutely bogus, of course.
It seems that maintaining troops after the withdrawal of NATO contingent suits both the U.S. and Afghanistan. “From the point of view of our own security, Washington is interested in a stable Afghanistan,” acknowledged Podesta . Washington does not want that, after 12 years of war, the longest in its history, the Asian State becomes a hotbed of terrorism. Well, Afghanistan is already a hotbed for terrorists thanks to the corruption behind the US invasion and the way the US military and its contractors have behaved since the war began.
For his part, Karzai himself has recognized the importance of the U.S. to remain in that country to ensure democratic stability, security and maintenance of international aid. What those words really mean, is that the US presence in Afghanistan guarantees the maintenance of the current “democratic dictatorship” led by Karzai, the existence of a thug infested security force that protects Karzai and its gang of criminals and that he and his cohorts will continue getting large trucks of cash in exchange for letting the United States guard and exploit the poppy fields.
Luis R. Miranda is the Founder and Editor of The Real Agenda. His 16 years of experience in Journalism include television, radio, print and Internet news. Luis obtained his Journalism degree from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, where he graduated in Mass Media Communication in 1998. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Among his most distinguished interviews are: Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres and James Hansen from NASA Space Goddard Institute. Read more about Luis.