Just days after US officials started claiming that because of their frustration with Afghan President Hamid Karzai the Obama Administration is giving serious consideration to ending the Afghan occupation, officials are quickly downplaying that prospect.
State Department official James Dobbins dismissed the prospect out of hand, bragging about the “remarkable outcomes” of the occupation and insisting that “the Afghans actually need us to stay,” adding “we have promised to stay.”
Sen. Robert Menendez (D – NJ) also suggested the “zero option” of leaving wasn’t serious, insisting the US is committed to a “long-term partnership” with Afghanistan.
The deal to keep troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 hasn’t been finalized, and Karzai suspended talks to protest being sidelined in the US-Taliban talks. Karzai’s term in office ends in early 2014, however, and some have suggested his successor may be easier to make a deal with.