Connect with us

World

Obama, Karzai accelerate end of U.S. combat role in Afghanistan

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: (Reuters): President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai agreed yesterday (January 11) to speed up the handover of combat operations in Afghanistan to Afghan forces, raising the prospect of an accelerated U.S. withdrawal from the country and underscoring Obama’s determination to wind down a long, unpopular war.

Signaling a narrowing of differences, Karzai appeared to give ground in talks at the White House on U.S. demands for immunity from prosecution for any American troops who stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014, a concession that could allow Obama to keep at least a small residual force there.

Both leaders also threw their support behind tentative Afghan reconciliation efforts with Taliban insurgents, endorsing the establishment of a Taliban political office in Qatar in hopes of bringing insurgents to inter-Afghan talks.

Outwardly, at least, the meeting appeared to be something of a success for both men, who need to show their vastly different publics they are making progress in their goals for Afghanistan. There were no signs of the friction that has frequently marked Obama’s relations with Karzai.

Karzai’s visit came amid stepped-up deliberations in Washington over the size and scope of the U.S. military role in Afghanistan once the NATO-led combat mission concludes at the end of 2014.

“By the end of next year, 2014, the transition will be complete,” Obama said at a news conference with Karzai standing at his side.

“Afghans will have full responsibility for their security, and this war will come to a responsible end.”

The Obama administration has been considering a residual force of between 3,000 and 9,000 troops – far fewer than some U.S. commanders propose – to conduct counterterrorism operations and to train and assist Afghan forces.

A top Obama aide said this week that the administration does not rule out a complete withdrawal after 2014, a move that some experts say would be disastrous for the weak Afghan central government and its fledgling security apparatus.

Obama yesterday left open the possibility of that so-called “zero option” when he several times used the word “if” to suggest that a post-2014 U.S. presence was far from guaranteed.

Insisting that Afghan forces were “stepping up” faster than expected, Obama said Afghan troops would take over the lead in combat missions across the country this spring, rather than waiting until the summer as originally planned. NATO troops will then assume a “support role,” he said.

“It will be a historic moment and another step toward full Afghan sovereignty,” Obama said.

Obama said final decisions on this year’s troop cuts and the post-2014 U.S. military role were still months away, but his comments suggested he favours a stepped-up withdrawal timetable.

There are some 66,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan. Washington’s NATO allies have been steadily reducing their troop numbers as well despite doubts about the ability of Afghan forces to shoulder full responsibility for security.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Hua Hin20 mins ago

Final arguments Tuesday on dual pricing suit against Health Ministry

World1 hour ago

Texas lawyer dressed as Halloween’s Michael Myers to spread hurricane cheer

Thailand1 hour ago

The Last Dance feat. Mike | Thaiger Bites | September 17

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand2 hours ago

No “October reopening” plan has been approved – CCSA

Thailand2 hours ago

Public Health Ministry defends October 1 reopening

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 14,555 new cases; provincial totals

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Crime2 hours ago

Torture and forced disappearances bills pass House vote 368-0

Bangkok3 hours ago

Bangkok Governor: NO reopening October 15 despite PM plans

Pattaya4 hours ago

Thai-Russian 4 year old girl drowns in Pattaya home pool

Phuket4 hours ago

New centre proposed to provide ATKs cheap at Phuket entrance

Thailand4 hours ago

Morning Top Stories | Covid Free setting, Pattaya bars might not open | September 17 |

Thailand5 hours ago

Thailand Daily Covid Update | Thursday, September 17 |

World5 hours ago

Foreign Minister Don to US for meetings with UN, ASEAN, more

Thailand5 hours ago

The Future of Medical Tourism in Thailand | Good Morning Thailand LIVE | Episode 91

Transport5 hours ago

Thai government officials offered special promotional fares on Air Asia

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14 | Thaiger
Thailand3 days ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism7 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism7 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending