Is US ‘Pullout’ Talk Simply Tough Diplomacy for Karzai Visit?

Afghan Officials See Pullout as Total Disaster

Much attention has been given to the Obama Administration’s plan for a withdrawal from Afghanistan, with reports that they are giving serious consideration to a total withdrawal from Afghanistan, using the eventual pullout from Iraq as a model.

The Karzai government is inconsolable over the reports, saying that a total US pullout at the end of 2014, when they had counted on the pledge to stay through 2024, would be a “total disaster.”

Naeem Lalai, an MP from Kandahar Province, warned that the pullout would lead to a similar result as the Soviet withdrawal after their own protracted occupation, and that the Taliban would take over militarily.

Yet while the reports coming out of the administration are that the pullout is under real, actual consideration, the timing, as President Hamid Karzai will be visiting the White House tomorrow, suggests that the move could simply be an effort at “hardball” with the Karzai government, with the hope that they will scare the Afghan president into making serious concessions or at least to avoid making any demands that the US government doesn’t want to hear.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.