According to classified cables obtained by The Washington Post, the outlook on the United States reaching a bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan by the end of 2014 is not positive. U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham writes that he does not expected Afghan president Hamid Karzai to sign any agreement—expected to be completed last fall—before elections in April.
A version of the bilateral security agreement was finalized last November and approved by a council of local leaders, but was not made official. Without one, the U.S. risks having to abandon Afghanistan fully by the end of the year, leaving its infrastructure vulnerable to Taliban infiltration.
From the Post:
If the Americans revert to a “zero option,” NATO and other partners that have agreed to leave smaller troop contingents in Afghanistan have said they would pull out, and about $8 billion in annual security and economic aid to begin next year would probably disappear.
President Karzai has over the past few months continued to lump demands onto the agreement, including that President Obama apologize in writing for mistakes during the American occupation of the country. He also further, intentionally or unintentionally, antagonized the U.S. by releasing 72 prisoners that the U.S. still classified as significant safety threats.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.