"Zero Option" Being Considered in Afghanistan
According to American and European officials, President Obama is so sick of dealing with Afghan President Hamid Karzai that he's now considering withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan after next year.
Apparently, the idea was bolstered by a tense video conference between Obama and Karzai on June 27, in which Karzai accused the U.S. president of sly dealings with the Taliban. Obama reportedly retorted by pointing out that American soldiers had died supporting Karzai's government. The conversation ended badly, to say the least.
The officials have stressed that other options are still being considered, but what had previously been a worst-case scenario has now become a very real possibility.
Until recently, U.S. and Afghan officials had been planning on keeping a small number of American troops in Afghanistan to help out and train Afghan security forces. Right now, there are around 63,000 troops still in Afghanistan—a number that is supposed to go down to 34,000 by February 2014. But now it's looking like most, if not all, the troops might be back in the U.S. by next summer.
“There’s always been a zero option, but it was not seen as the main option,” a U.S. official told T he New York Times . “It is now becoming one of them, and if you listen to some people in Washington, it is maybe now being seen as a realistic path.”