Obama, Karzai discuss US presence in Afghanistan
What does the future role look like?
- Duration 5:26
- Date Jan 11, 2013
What does the future role look like?
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The president is meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the White House as we speak the two leaders are discussing a range of issues including the future role for US troops in Afghanistan.
After the war formally ends in 2014.
-- US commanders have proposed -- anywhere from a few thousand troops have risen 20000.
After that date but the president is reportedly also considering a so called.
Zero option leaving no troops Michael O'Hanlon is a senior fellow and foreign policy cities in the Brookings Institution he's traveled to Afghanistan nine times.
Austin had met several times -- President Karzai.
Michael if if you would because -- your experience especially.
With President Karzai and -- think this conversation is going right now.
Hi Jana and by the way I like the way you put that the war is supposed to formally ended 24 team at least our role it formally ends as we all know the war may continue and that gets to the real lessons of the meeting today.
There's a lot of work still to do there's a question about how fast we drawdown our forces between now and the end of 2014.
And then as you mentioned how many forces stay after that.
And whether it has to be achieved right away -- -- we can middle and we can draw down 201520162017.
A little more gradually which is what I favor.
See you don't have to necessarily get to the quote unquote -- -- steady state presence right away at the end of next year.
And there are other question still is there a better strategy for peace talks with the -- bond that could actually produce a formal and so the war.
Our departure really can't but it -- You -- the rally or could it if you waited my focus the last time that you were in Afghanistan I remember that your reading some your notes from that trip be set at that time he said.
The Taliban are not winning.
Now but that that could change and so when we're looking at a war -- finishing it and who won and who lost.
If the Taliban are negotiated with is that -- wind -- is it a win for the American people in our security.
Well I think our core security -- China is really is to make sure that the government in Afghanistan is in control its own territory to the point where terrorist sanctuaries cannot bring up again.
That's the core American national security call.
We'd like to be able to also keep an eye on Pakistan's western provinces from that area as well and continue some of the operations that as you know we've been conducting from Afghanistan.
To go after terrorists there to those are our core interest everything else is in the category of nice to have unfortunately you can't necessarily go after terrorists unless you help the Afghan government stay on its feet.
And that means you've got to help them politically economically with their own army.
And if you're trying to rush out by 24 -- by the end of next year and pull out everybody except -- you know a few.
Seals and delta force commandos the Afghans may not have the help they need to hold their own country together and your ultimate goals may not be achievable.
So that's why there -- a lot of issues that wind up getting brought here one last one is the Afghan presidential elections next year.
Karzai is close to step down in about fifteen months I think he well.
But there's a big question about who's gonna replace them.
How much he will try to influence that process how legitimate the process will wind up being whether we get somebody who's as good as he is better or worse and I think those will be huge questions the international community has at least some role in supporting those elections.
And it -- to talk about that -- what it.
I'm so glad you brought the series a different things that are so important -- Michael including Pakistan and I like to focus on that just briefly now we could.
I you mentioned you know it never think about geography of Afghanistan safe havens that are still in Pakistan and how that truly is the problem will we look at.
Terrorists and -- terrorist threat to our country.
Is tapped to reach those regions and we had a lot of headlines that talk about drone attacks there.
But at what other article today suggests that we need troops on the ground and we need bases in Afghanistan because we need to get to some of these other areas that will remain a problem.
In in these tribal areas so how does that kind of figure into this conversation -- well again coming back to our national acute security keeping our country safe.
Where does that -- Right well in theory -- if you just had a few hundred.
American commandos and maybe three different places in Afghanistan you could do a lot of what you needed but how do you sustain.
Those three bases of a few hundred commandos each you've got to have support for them.
You've got to keep the Afghan army and police strong enough that they can hold their country together -- not have it be overthrown by the -- bond.
You've got to give them the kind of air support and resupply capability they don't have yet at least for a little while after 2014 maybe not indefinitely.
And -- that leads to.
Requests I think from commanders in the field for up to 20000 US troops now the good news is even if you accept the logic of that and I do you don't necessarily need to stay -- 20000 indefinitely.
You may need to stay around there in 2015 start drawing down a little more in 2016 and by you know five years from now -- have a few thousand people in Afghanistan I can live with that compared to the alternative but it's not clear yet if mr.
Obama and mr.
Karzai -- come up with a deal they both like in those in the in the in you know in that regards.
-- it's an important reminder of course that these numbers are flexible -- abstinence.
What's -- right now is that we still have troops on the ground very much fighting fighting the war we can't forget that -- this conversation is happening back home.
Stuff right yeah it's a lot and lot of families affected here it's great having your expertise is always always look for a to have -- on the program thank you.
Thank you Jenna it's.