Western attendees at the London Conference seemed keen on setting up some sort of vague exit strategy, if for no other reason than to calm growing voter unrest over the endless war. This hope seems to have run into a roadblock however, in the form of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Following predictions from British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that things would go so well that they could begin handing over security control to Afghan forces “later this year,” Karzai chimed in with a prediction that the security forces might be sufficiently trained in 5-10 years, and that in another 15 years they might be self-sufficient.
Karzai’s comments were in keeping with previous statements made in early December, in which he said the Afghan Army would need foreign asssistance until at least 2024.
Even Karzai’s comments were somewhat optimistic, as German General Hans Christoph Ammon had previously predicted that it would take 82 years to have the Afghan police properly trained. It is perhaps the untenability of these long-term strategies which have led to the sudden momentum for the new strategy of paying off the Taliban.