The Afghan parliament today finally approved the troops deal which will keep US occupation forces on the ground “through 2024 and beyond.” The vote was 152-5, and loudly backed by President Ashraf Ghani.
The plan was to keep the troops there purely in a training and advisory role, which was the official US policy at the time. It also made several very specific limits on things US troops couldn’t do inside Afghanistan.
Undiscussed in the Afghan parliament was the fact that the Obama Administration openly plans to violate that pact on multiple fronts now, and has the apparent blessing of Ghani, elected earlier this year and a fraud-laden run-off vote.
On Friday, it was revealed President Obama had already signed a “secret order” that would ignore the training and advisory limit, and ensure that US ground troops remain in direct combat throughout at least 2015, the first year of the deal.
Today, reports are that Ghani has quietly agreed to lift another of the limitations, the ban on night raids against civilian homes in Afghanistan, beginning in 2015.
Night raids were hugely unpopular in rural Afghanistan, both because of the hostility toward occupation forces breaking down peoples’ doors in the middle of the night, and because of major civilian casualties in some such incidents.
This threatens to be an even more unpopular move than the US extending combat roles inside Afghanistan, and that the fact didn’t emerge until immediately after parliament rubber-stamped the troop deal suggests an effort to keep important facts out of the vote.