US Resigned to Waiting for Karzai’s Successor to Sign Troop Pact

Continues to Threaten 'Zero Option' as Election Nears

Late last year, the Obama Administration made a big deal out of the Afghan government needing to sign the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) by the end of December or else face an end to the occupation. Afghan President Hamid Karzai told them he wouldn’t until the April election, and US officials insisted that wasn’t good enough.

It’s now Mid-February and the BSA still isn’t signed, suddenly waiting until the end of Karzai’s term is the way to go. They’re still pushing the “zero option” of ending the occupation as a threat to coax Karzai into action, but it seems less credible than ever.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says he doesn’t think Karzai’s going to come around at all, and other officials say they’re looking for ways to “get past him.”

In the past that’s included talk of finding someone other than Karzai who might sign the pact, but that seems unrealistic, and at this point the plan seems to be condemning Karzai at regular intervals while waiting out his last two months.

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.