Now a similar scenario may be unfolding in Afghanistan. With the American and Afghan government at loggerheads, next year could see a total pullout of U.S. forces.
American officials say they are preparing to suspend negotiations absent a breakthrough in the coming weeks, and a senior administration official said talk of resuming them with President Hamid Karzai’s successor, who will be chosen in elections set for next April, is, “frankly, not very likely.”
“The time to conclude for us is now,” the administration official said on Friday. In the absence of a deal, “this fall, we are going to have to make plans for the future accordingly.”
The impasse, after a year of talks, has increased the prospect of what the Americans call the zero option — complete withdrawal — when the NATO combat mission concludes at the end of 2014. That is precisely the outcome they hoped to avoid in Afghanistan, after having engaged in a similarly problematic withdrawal from Iraq two years ago.America should get out and stay out. They've spent a dozen years babysitting an uresolved civil war, which may have become Afghanistan's new natural state of political affairs. Even one of the frontrunners vying to fill Karzai's spot as president in the April elections has his militia organized to go postal should he lose. The others are probably no better.