US-Afghan plan would keep troops in place, funds flowing through ‘2024 and beyond’

U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai shake hands in Jan. 2013 (Source: Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai shake hands in Jan. 2013 (Source: Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai shake hands in Jan. 2013 (Source: Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images)

AFGHANISTAN — The longest war in America’s history is showing no signs of ceasing.  A U.S.-Afghan security deal shows that the United States is prepared to keep military deployments in place and to continue pumping money into the mountainous middle-eastern country for years to come.

The 25-page document contains all sorts of provisions regarding the behavior of the United States and its agents while occupying Afghanistan, ranging from movement of vehicles to contractor attire.

The deal has been subject to several revisions after being negotiated back and forth since its drafting in July.

Up to 15,000 foreign troops could remain occupying Afghanistan after 2014 if the deal is reached, confirmed Afghan President Hamid Karzai.  This number seems to vary depending on the source.  According to NBC News:

The document doesn’t specifically say how many U.S. and NATO troops would remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Afghan officials tell NBC News they hope it will be 10 to 15 thousand. U.S. officials tell NBC News the number is closer to seven to eight thousand, with an additional contribution from NATO. Factoring in troop rotations, home leave, and breaks between deployments, the service of tens of thousands of American troops would be required to maintain a force of seven to eight thousand for a decade or longer. The anticipated costs would likely run into the billions quickly.

According to the text, the deal would take effect on Jan. 1, 2015, and “shall remain in force until the end of 2024 and beyond.”  Cancellation of the deal by Washington or Kabul would require two years advance written notice.

The deal appears to continue to exempt U.S. troops from Afghan laws and courts, a controversial point for some.

President Karzai will now present the agreement to the Loya Jirga, or “grand assembly”, of more than 2,000 Afghan elders who have gathered to discuss the deal.  While their approval is not legally required, Karzai said he will not sign the deal without their consent.

The deal suggests that after 12 years of military occupation and trillions of dollars, neither side believes the U.S. mission is anywhere near complete in Afghanistan.

 

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