During an annual conference of ambassadors and consuls-general in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai said the US and its allies should do what’s best for Afghanistan and leave.
“We want foreign troops to leave our villages, streets and bazaars, go to their bases and leave the country gradually by the end of 2014,” the president remarked, referring to the Obama administration’s stated deadline for a partial troop withdrawal.
Karzai explained that Afghans had suffered on a daily basis during the war on terrorism and that now is the time for the fight to be taken elsewhere in places where terrorists are sheltered and financed.
Karzai also said that in order for Afghanistan to be secure going forward, the US will have to come to grips with the fact that an Afghan-Iranian alliance is central.
The Afghan president reiterated the predictions of US politicians and military officials, that Afghan forces will be ready to take charge of security independently from NATO trainers.
But this really isn’t the case. All along, officials have quietly admitted that Afghan security forces are weak and untrained, and would probably fall apart (along with the state) without the NATO occupation.
And the withdrawal to be completed in 2014 won’t be a full withdrawal. Up to 10,000 US troops will remain in the country, training Afghan forces and executing house raids of suspected Taliban, etc. The occupation will be smaller, but will still exist.