Immunity for US troops in Afghanistan after 2014?
Mideast affairs expert Michael Singh weighs in
- Duration 4:16
- Date Jan 14, 2013
Mideast affairs expert Michael Singh weighs in
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Comes as one of the lingering questions facing this administration is whether US troops remaining in Afghanistan past the 2014 with a -- Would be immune from prosecution under Afghan law.
The US is pushing for that immunity today president Afghan President Hamid Karzai -- a meeting of the nation's elders would decide that question.
Well the decision could make this a real game changer.
Let's talk about what Michael -- former senior director of Middle Eastern affairs at the National Security Council and managing director.
Of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Does the recent.
The Iraq War hold any history lessons for us the Obama administration.
Did not really secure a status of forces agreement that was going to protect American troops.
They all pulled out what's the situation in Iraq right now Michael.
We obviously the administration hopes originally for us some kind of residual force in Iraq to continue our mission there but.
-- wasn't really able to negotiate that with the Iraqi Government and one of the issues which it tripped over was this immunity question.
And this is today typically comes up in these types of situations.
And of course it's a question of sovereignty from Afghan eyes and it's a question of protecting our troops from and in our eyes and I expect this will be very difficult and Afghanistan as well.
Well that the president has been reportedly considering plans to leave maybe 3000 maybe 9000 troops in Afghanistan.
But there are commanders in the field who said you need a lot more than that where I think it if they if they come up with saying that a lower number 3000.
Is that enough to get any kind of a job done.
But I seems unlikely -- remember that one of the goals of this sort of decade long effort here is to prevent terrorists from -- -- established a safe haven Afghanistan again.
Now the Afghan national security forces I don't think can do that on their own they need assistance from US forces still.
And I think without a sizable force there along the lines the administration was originally talking about like you know 30000 troops -- hard to imagine that happening.
But the president it is full of glowing words about you know what we've accomplished in Afghanistan and and that's the the potential future of the Afghan government he also says we have decapitated al-Qaeda.
Is he looking at all this through rose colored glasses Michael.
Well of course you know John politics does commended us every -- defeated al-Qaeda in Afghanistan know very quickly within the very first a couple of years of that war.
And since then we've been trying to prepare the Afghan government the Afghan security forces to ensure -- -- -- can't come back.
And that's the big question -- not have we have we decapitated al-Qaeda but could al-Qaeda and the Taliban have a resurgence after we leave.
But in the meantime -- Hamid Karzai is saying his country is going to be.
More secure after foreign forces pull out that seems like another case of rose colored glasses to me.
We he's got to deal would sort of political reality here John which is if it's inevitable.
The US troops are going to leave then he's got to deal with that situation and so I think it's frankly not surprising that he would say give if he feels that -- -- -- gonna withdraw those troops.
That -- will be fine we'll continue and so forth to try to send that message to his people into his government.
That this isn't sort of a disaster -- waiting.
Well it seems like if if if Hamid -- you know if he can't keep his troops can't keep al-Qaeda from returning.
-- huge -- of his country then the question has to be asked was the Afghan war worth it.
Well John I think that you know frankly the work that our troops have done there is work that was worth doing the question is are we going to be able to consolidate those gains and maintain those gains.
And that's at the White House has to look at now they may have to make sure that they make a responsible decision.
In conjunction with the Afghan government of course that's a big question mark as well can they managed to negotiate that.
To ensure that we don't lose the gains that we made over these are sort of hard fought ten years we just got word that the president is expected to step up to the podium in less than a minute Michael so I'm gonna say good -- thanks very much for being with -- Michael -- Joining us today from thank you the national from the former senior director the Middle Eastern affairs at the National Security Council.