Evaluating the 'zero option' in Afghanistan
Amb. John Bolton weighs in
- Duration 4:37
- Date Jan 9, 2013
Amb. John Bolton weighs in
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Some new information now on the plans for US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan with the zero option.
Now very much on the table meaning the Obama administration would not leave any American troops in Afghanistan after the end of next year.
This should be at odds -- the Pentagon's view that perhaps thousands maybe tens of thousands of troops are needed to you can't contain al-Qaeda and remain in that country.
This sticking point seems to be the issue of immunity the US demanding that any American troops every -- in Afghanistan after the combat mission ends.
Be granted immunity from prosecution under Afghan law.
Today President Karzai who's currently in Washington has resisted this joining us now ambassador John Bolton former US fast as the UN.
And -- Fox News contributors ambassador Bolton.
Our President Karzai says this give us a good army a good air force -- capability due to project Afghan inches in the region and then.
And only then will you get your immunity what do you think about that.
Well I think that's a losing proposition for Hamid Karzai it's a losing proposition for us to look this legal question of immunity.
May sound kind of abstract and technical but it's absolutely critical the United States.
Is not gonna put its armed forces or its diplomats or its contractors.
Under Afghan law they they are representing sovereign American interest.
And our law controls that that's that at some point we have insisted on.
Around the world for years now this is a bargaining position by Hamid Karzai.
Tough negotiation can handle what but it's not something we should give -- on.
-- get that immunity from the Iraqi Government and we did withdraw all of our troops -- that country.
Do you think there's a real possibility that that could be the case in Afghanistan and we do not find common ground here.
But I think this is an excuse and I think the Obama administration which wanted to find a way not to keep our troops in Iraq.
Wants to find a way not to keep our troops in Afghanistan I think this is a guarantee.
For Taliban take over the resurgence of al-Qaeda.
The sacrifice of everything our troops have one force over there.
And as I say I think this is a question of getting some good negotiators we could resolve that problem in Iraq if we had had the will and the tenacity.
To do so we can do it here in Afghanistan as well I think -- it's it's less a question of what.
Hamid Karzai wants and more question what Barack Obama wants or doesn't want.
And that is a big question we do we heard from general Allen.
The reports that he had suggested the Pentagon upwards of -- -- in 20000 troops remain in the country after the end when he fourteen.
What you think about the fact that this debate.
This floating of the idea.
The zero option is happening very much in the public -- that we're talking about it now that.
And that it's out in the open rather than behind closed doors how does that impact things.
I think this is what the president wants I don't think he wants to be in Afghanistan forget after 2014.
I think he'd like to withdraw this year.
And I think a lot of the numbers above zero that you're hearing are just numbers drawn out of a hat they're not numbers based on force requirements -- the strategic.
Situation on the ground in Afghanistan.
This is just -- a pure numbers game and and where it leads is zero because I fear.
That's what the president wants look we're in Afghanistan to protect American interest we're not there to make.
Afghanistan -- nicer place where there to prevent.
Terrorist attacks against the United States and if we're not prepared.
To do that we need to have a national public debate about it's something we've avoided for four years to our detriment.
Real quick here the White House one of the White House officials deputy national security advisor says that they don't have a number they're saying there's no X number of troops in Afghanistan but the objective is -- there's no safe haven for al-Qaeda there.
And making sure that the Afghan government has -- security force that it needs.
-- would you add anything to that list what do you think of those objectives as as laid up out by the White House.
-- -- I think that's nothing but rhetoric by the White House that they have undercut our ability to achieve.
Our objectives in Afghanistan over the last four years setting premature deadlines for troop withdraw we're just -- another.
Song and dance here I think to justify -- total pullout that's where I think the president wants today.
And we have this conversation now.
While combat troops 66000 still very much in Afghanistan.
And the war very real to them for the next years and absolutely -- agree to have you with us today thank you thank you.