Some Afghans think little as clarified in Karzai-Obama talks
KABUL — Some Afghans wondered what President Hamid Karzai would bring back from Washington.
The meeting on Friday with President Obama appears to have yielded progress on at least two of the issues on Karzai's list — a U.S. pullout from Afghan villages and a full handover of the country's military detention center at Bagram.
Neither Obama nor Karzai, however, spoke concretely about the size of the U.S. presence after 2014, with Karzai saying, “numbers are not going to make a difference to the situation in Afghanistan.”
In Kabul, though, there is still great interest in that question. Some voiced disappointment on Saturday that neither president offered clarity on an issue that weighs heavily on the minds of many Afghans.
“We wanted to hear from our president key questions about Afghanistan beyond 2014, like: What will be the role of the U.S. militarily and politically? What is the Afghan government's demand from the U.S.?” said Fauzia Koofi, a lawmaker and women's rights activist. “Those issues were not mentioned by President Karzai.”
Although both leaders spoke of their interest in a long-term security partnership, Karzai expressed uncertainty about whether diplomatic immunity would be provided to U.S. troops beyond 2014 — a prerequisite for an enduring troop presence, according to Obama. For Afghans worried about a dramatic U.S. withdrawal, the prospect that Americans won't offer Karzai the concessions he needs to grant that immunity has prompted concerns.
“Karzai thought that through pressure on the issue of legal immunity, we could gain concessions, but there is no sign that those concessions will be given to Afghanistan,” said Waheed Mozhdah, a longtime Afghan analyst.
“There was no special achievement for Karzai in this trip, but it added to the concerns that American forces may not keep troops after 2014,” Mozhdah said.
At a joint news conference Friday, Obama announced that the transition to Afghan-led security will be accelerated, with Afghan troops and police taking control of all operations in the spring. Remaining U.S. troops will serve a supporting role.
“We wanted a clearer message from Obama that the U.S. will continue to support democracy in Afghanistan,” Koofi said. “It's the only alternative to Talibanization.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 18 accused spies executed by Gaza terrorists
- Interpol probes Thailand’s ‘Baby Factory’
- Ebola spreads in Nigeria; Liberian treatment centers inundated
- Gaza militants kill 18 alleged spies for Israel
- Ukraine: Russian aid convoy is a ‘direct invasion’
- Islamic State’s carnage spreads as Yazidis slain
- Chinese cultists on trial in eatery murder
- Bombed factories in Gaza raise ire
- Israeli airstrike kills 3 senior Hamas leaders
- Israeli airstrikes kill 3 Hamas leaders in Gaza
- 111-year-old from Japan recognized as oldest man