Obama ‘Considers Pulling All U.S. Troops from Afghanistan’

Mike O'Brien

President Obama is considering withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014, according to new reports published on Tuesday.

The President is "is giving serious consideration to speeding up the withdrawal" of troops from Afghanistan and to a "zero option" that would remove all U.S. forces from the country next year, the New York Times reports.

Both the Times and CNN said the development has come about because of the President’s increasing frustration with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The news outlets quote unnamed American and European officials.

Mr. Obama is committed to ending America’s military involvement in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and U.S. officials have been negotiating with their Afghan counterparts about keeping a small "residual force" in the war-ravaged country.

But his relationship with Mr. Karzai has become increasingly strained, reaching a new low last month when the U.S. made a new push for peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar.

At that point Mr. Karzai ended negotiations with the United States over the long-term security deal that is needed to keep American forces in Afghanistan after 2014.

A videoconference between Mr. Obama and Mr. Karzai designed to defuse the tensions ended badly, according to both American and Afghan officials.

It is alleged the Afghan leader believes the U.S. is trying to negotiate a separate peace with both the Taliban and their backers in Pakistan, leaving Afghanistan’s government exposed to its enemies.

Today’s report indicate that the option of leaving no troops in Afghanistan after 2014 was gaining momentum before the June 27 video conference.

But since then, the idea of a complete military exit has gone from being considered the worst-case scenario to an alternative under serious consideration in Washington and Kabul.