With Afghan President Hamid Karzai angrily complaining about civilian deaths in a January 15 US air attack and still not accepting US demands to sign off on the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), US Senators are condemning him, and urging the US to drop official support for him for the last few months of his term in office.
The BSA would formalize the US occupation of Afghanistan “through 2024 and beyond,” and while White House officials are still talking up a largely empty threat to end the occupation, the Senators are saying they should just ignore Karzai until the election, and hope his successor will be more amenable to the idea of another decade-plus of US occupation.
The US has been angry with Karzai off and on for years, but with the BSA more or less stalled, every little comment, including criticism of civilian deaths in US air strikes or a judicial order to release detainees the US wants jailed but has no evidence against has officials convinced Afghanistan is openly flaunting US interests.
Sen. Carl Levin (D – MI), determined to see the occupation continue, says the US has to “get beyond Karzai” and realize that he’s not going to give in, but rather that the deal should be pushed to his successor.
President Obama gave Karzai an ultimatum to sign the deal by December 31 of last year or face a full withdrawal. Karzai didn’t sign, and the US continues to push the ultimatum back a bit, but with elections just a few months away, it seems to be neither here nor there anymore, and officials are just looking for chances to spite Karzai on his way out.