Complete pullout an option: White House
WASHINGTON (PAN): The White House on Tuesday confirmed it was looking into the possibility of a “zero option”, meaning no US troops on the ground in Afghanistan after 2014. But no final decision has been made yet so far.
Acknowledging there are difficulties in relationship with the Karzai government, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney asserted there was a unanimity of views between the two presidents on democracy in Afghanistan.
At his daily news conference, Carney said President Barack Obama was looking at all the options, including having no troops at all, which had been an option under consideration for past some time.
“Going all the way back to January, we have made clear the options include the zero option, the so-called zero option,” Carney said in response to a question on a media report that the Obama administration was considering having no troops at all in Afghanistan after 2014.
The United States, he said, would continue to work with the Afghan government as it looked at the options available to it after 2014. “Now, I want to make clear, that this is not a decision. And you know, we're talking about a potential residual force in a year and a half. So these are ongoing conversations.”
“They're part of a bilateral security agreement discussion that we're having with the Afghans. Separate but actually integral to this is our broader commitment to Afghanistan, reflected in our strategic partnership agreement.
"We will continue to be committed to Afghanistan beyond 2014 in our robust civilian assistance and our support for the Afghan national security forces,” the official said.
He claimed there was consensus between the Afghan government and the US about its view of the need for Afghanistan to be secure and sovereign and democratic in the future.
“We have had disagreements in the past and will have them in the future, there's no question. But the core agreement here is on a future in Afghanistan that is stable and democratic,” he observed.
Carney said the residual force would depend on negotiations with the Afghans and on the US assessment of the best way to achieve its policy objectives.
“Going forward, after 2014, there will be very clear objectives for our policy in Afghanistan, and those objectives may be met by a residual force, or they may be met through other means.
"I mean, there are other ways to train and equip security forces, and there are other ways, obviously, to continue our efforts against remnants of al-Qaida,” the White House spokesman said," he concluded.
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