No one is going to take this news as good. The Republicans will howl that it isn’t enough, as Mitt Romney calls for a greater presence in Afghanistan for years to come. Democrats are going to scream because it keeps us attached to Afghanistan when so many of us want the United States to just leave as quickly as possible.
The draft agreement signed on Sunday obligates the United States to defend Afghanistan militarily for a decade or more after the country finally takes control of its own security. The United States agreed that it will not launch any attacks on other countries from Afghan soil after the primary forces withdraw in 2014, making relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan easier.
The Afghan government must approve the agreement, and it was read on the floor of their Paliament by National Security Advisor Rangin Dadfar Spanta. Part of the agreement says, “Considering that stability in Afghanistan would be stability for Central Asia and South Asia, the United States emphasizes that any kind of interference in Afghan affairs would be a matter of concern for the United States. If any interference occurs, the United States with the agreement of both countries, will give a proper response, including diplomatic means, political means, economic means and even military means.”
The United States and all allied forces will be drawing down from Afghanistan over the next two years, with 2014 as the target for complete withdrawal of all military personnel. This agreement commits America to financially and otherwise support the Afghan people at least until 2024. The agreement is a key element in American withdrawal. Afghanistan is a mess, devastated by decades of war and civil war. Though the country contains trillions of dollars in minable minerals, it has only begun to exploit them and is vulnerable to international interference over the mining operations.
No details have been announced, because they have not been completely worked out. It is expected that we would pick up a $4 billion yearly tab for supporting Afghanistan’s security forces, in addition to “development” funding for the nation’s economy.
The agreement has gone through 23 drafts already and the details have yet to be worked out? Not only are the details lacking, but no English version has been provided to the American press.
This is not going to be popular, not one little bit.