In negotiating a strategic partnership deal with a U.S. vulnerable from its failing mission in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai said Thursday that his government is “taking a magnifying glass” to every detail of the talks.
After troubling instability in Afghanistan following recent outrages like the U.S. military’s Koran burning, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales’s massacre of 17 civilians, and leaked video of Marines urinating on Afghan corpses, the Obama administration has had its bargaining chips weakened.
Already the U.S. has given in on one of the primary obstacles to a settlement, agreeing this month to cede control of all Afghan prisons to Kabul after the drawdown. On the other sticking point, regarding night raids, which Karzai wanted stopped completely, the U.S. may concede to a warrant from an Afghan judge required to conduct the raids jointly with NATO.
Despite Karzai’s demands for sovereignty, the fact remains that a significant U.S. war will continue beyond 2014. Even some Republicans have begun to lose interest in the Afghan war, but some in the military have still argued the drawdown should be slowed or abandoned.