BSA: President unlikely to meet US deadline
KABUL (Pajhwok): President Hamid Karzai may not sign a security deal allowing an American military presence in the country post 2014 on the US timetable, Washington’s envoy in Kabul has privately informed the Obama administration.
If the assessment turns out to be correct, the ensuing situation could lead to a messy troop withdrawal by the end of the year, leaving the US with little time to assemble a coalition to stay in Afghanistan.
The Washington Post reported on Friday the assessment had been made in recent days in a classified cable by US Ambassador James B. Cunningham, who has been negotiating the pact in Kabul.
The White House wants to see the document signed within “weeks, not months.” In the cable, Cunningham says he did not think Karzai would sign the pact before a presidential election scheduled for April.
The assessment follows America’s repeated extension of the deadline for signing the deal that was expected to be concluded early last fall.
Senior Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker John A. Boehner, have held President Obama responsible for the ongoing upheaval and al-Qaeda gains in Iraq, where the administration was unable to complete a similar agreement before the final departure of troops.
Last month, the US intelligence community warned a total American military pullout from Afghanistan would lead to a rapid collapse of central government control to the Taliban and other power brokers in many parts of the country.
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