“We are leaving [Afghanistan],” Vice President Joe Biden said during the October 11 vice presidential debate. “We are leaving in 2014, period.”
Biden might want to run that by the commander in chief. The evidence continues to mount that President Barack Obama has no intention of withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014, if ever.
The most recent indication that the U.S. military may well be in Afghanistan to stay comes from Marc Grossman, the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Appearing on a panel at the annual meeting of the International Stability Operations Association in Washington on October 16, Grossman said that “the State Department is about to begin formal negotiations over the extension of U.S. troops past 2014,” according to Josh Rogin of Foreign Policy magazine.
“Last week,” writes Rogin, “U.S. and Afghan negotiators met in Kabul to talk about the Bilateral Security Agreement that will govern the extension of U.S. troops past 2014, when President Barack Obama said the combat mission in Afghanistan will end and the U.S. will complete the transition of the entire country to Afghan government control.”
These negotiations are a follow-up to the Strategic Partnership Agreement that Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai inked in May. That pact “promised an ongoing U.S. commitment to Afghanistan through 2024,” Rogin notes.
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Photo of a U.S. Lt. Col. and an Afghan Lt. Col. walking together in Afghanistan: AP Images