Accessibility links

Obama On Afghanistan's Future


Afghan President Hamid Karzai smiles at the end of a joint news conference with President Barack Obama in January. (FILE)

President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently discussed preparations for Afghanistan’s coming elections, Afghan-led peace and reconciliation efforts, and the Bilateral Security Agreement.

President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently discussed preparations for Afghanistan’s coming elections, Afghan-led peace and reconciliation efforts, and the Bilateral Security Agreement.


President Obama affirmed the United States’ support for a fair, credible, timely, and Afghan-led electoral process. Afghans should know that the United States will be committed to supporting the Afghan security forces as they make preparations to secure the Afghan elections.

Independent Afghan electoral bodies will play an important role in overseeing a historic transfer of power. President Obama reiterated that the United States would not support any candidate in the elections. The choice of who leads Afghanistan is for the Afghans to make.

With regard to the Bilateral Security Agreement, or BSA, President Obama informed the Afghan leader that because he has demonstrated that it is unlikely that he will sign the BSA, the U.S. is moving forward with additional contingency planning. Specifically, President Obama has asked the Defense Department to ensure that it has adequate plans in place to accomplish an orderly withdrawal by the end of the year should the U.S. not keep any troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

If, however, a BSA is signed, a limited post-2014 mission focused on training, advising, and assisting Afghan forces and going after the remnants of core al-Qaida could be in the interests of the United States and Afghanistan. That’s why the United States will leave open the possibility of concluding a BSA with Afghanistan later this year. “But the longer we go without a BSA,” warned President Obama, “the more challenging it will be to plan and execute any U.S. mission.” Furthermore, the longer it takes to sign a BSA, the more likely it is that any post-2014 U.S. mission will be smaller in scale and ambition.

This message was reinforced by NATO at its recent ministerial, with NATO Secretary General Rasmussen explaining that if there is no security agreement between Afghanistan and the United States, there will likewise be no NATO agreement with Afghanistan and no NATO troops after 2014.

The United States continues to support a sovereign, stable, unified, and democratic Afghanistan. The U.S. remains fully supportive of its partners in the Afghan security forces, and continues to proudly work side by side with its international partners and the many Afghans who continue to work to ensure the stability and prosperity of their fellow citizens.
XS
SM
MD
LG