U.S. troops in Afghanistan until 2014?
Yesterday, President Obama signed an agreement with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on the presence of U.S. troops moving forward.
The agreement keeps a major U.S. military presence in Afghanistan — at least 25,000 troops, more than three times the number when Obama came to office — through 2014. An unspecified military presence would extend beyond 2014, with no end date stipulated.
The president failed to provide any reason not to withdraw from Afghanistan immediately.
In his speech at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, President Obama spoke of a transition to Afghan control — an idea we’ve heard now for nearly a decade.
He talked of “destroying” al Qaeda, but the United States has said for years there is virtually no al Qaeda presence in the country, with the highest-profile U.S. military actions occurring in Pakistan.
Nor is this a plan based on Afghan sovereignty. The agreement between Presidents Obama and Karzai requires all “entities” involved in the peace process to renounce violence — with the exception of the United States, of course. As long as the U.S. military occupation continues, the Taliban is unlikely to unilaterally disarm.
Such a glaring loophole indicates that this is not a serious plan to leave, but a means to justify continuing military occupation, as any instance of violence can be used as a pretext for further troop extensions.
The U.S. Constitution requires ratification by the Senate of all treaties. Ask your representative to support HR 780, and your senators to introduce a parallel bill, rejecting the treaty and withdrawing from Afghanistan.
Should the agreement move forward, a key piece will be discussion by NATO member states, who meet later this month in Chicago. Join the Fellowship of Reconciliation and other speakers — including Afghans for Peace’s Suraia Sahar — May 18 and 19 in Chicago to call on countries to withdraw from Afghanistan, and build a NATO-free future.
FOR, Roots Action, Veterans for Peace, and Voices for Creative Nonviolence are working together to end the war in Afghanistan, and are jointly issuing this call for peace today.
Is stopping the war in Afghanistan important to you? Help support FOR’s work by making a donation today.
Image: Presidents Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai at the White House, 2010. Official White House photo (public domain).