Recently the Secretary of State John Kerry has attempted to hold negations with President Karzai over a deal that would allow U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan for ten more years pass the pull out deadline. However, the president of Afghanistan needed the loya jirga approval so he can sign the deal and allow the presence of U.S forces in the country. The mass group of tribal leader took last weekend to discuss whether or not they would be ok with U.S. and NATO forces staying past their deadline. The group approved the measure saying that it would be beneficial for the Afghan people.
However, the president in Afghanistan has refused to sign the deal that if not signed will force the United States and its allies to pull out all forces from Afghanistan after the 2014 deadline is passed. Furthermore if the president fails to sign this deal the foreign aid that the country was scheduled to receive will now be scrap and the government will not receive any foreign aid. Now we did see this situation play out before in Iraq. We attempted to sign a Security Deal and those plans truly fell through. The reason why those plans failed was a part of the deal that the U.S. refused to give the Iraqi government. The Obama administration declined to give the Iraqi government the authority to prosecute any American soldier who may have committed a war crime in the region.
That was a part of the deal that I did agree with the United States. For the military has its own judicial system which prosecutes any service member for violating the rules of the Geneva Convention. Because we did not want to include that part of the deal in we did not sign the security deal and pulled out U.S forces from the region. Now when we look at the country and how it is doing now we see a country that is in a much worse shape then it was when we first engaged the country.
Terrorist activity has been ramped up in the country and the Iraqi people are seeing terrorist attacks on a daily basis with casualties climbing everyday. You may ask yourself why am I making this point. Well if we fail to maintain coalition forces in Afghanistan, I believe that we will be failing to learn from our mistakes from the Iraq war and how we handled the war after the fall through of the security deal. But what is difference about this time is the fact that the tribal leaders of the region have accepted this deal and in the beginning of the talks Karzai himself said that he can sign off on the security deal.
Now the president has switched his tone and is looking for any possible excuse to not sign this deal. First he stated that he was looking for the jirga to agree on the deal and after they gave their decision on the deal that he would sign the deal. Then Karzai stated that he may wait for elections to take place in the country and have the new president to sign the agreement if he wants. And the other day Karzai found another reason to not sign this deal. Over the course of the week the U.S carried out a drone strike that took the life of two innocent civilians. This military operation was the fuel that Karzai needed to be ever more critical of the security deal.
I have been a strong advocate that U.S forces should be brought home after nearly 13 years of being in the country. However, after the 2,500 member jirga voted to have the deal signed, I see that the Afghan people would feel secure if we continue to keep a small not large military present. Now we would leave about 8,000-10,000 U.S forces in the country providing security and training of Afghan forces. Both elements that are critical to assuring that we have a stabilized Afghanistan in the future. It is also in the countries interest in the terms of aid that would be held back if the deal is not signed.
So far the Afghan military and their special operations teams have done a sufficient job this fighting season against Taliban forces. However, as the commanding general Joseph Dunford stated, the Afghan military needs more time and training before leaving them to their own devices. Even civilians in the country have stated that the reason why their is some peace in the country is because of NATO and American forces that are in the country. I do believe that this deal can attempt to bring that safety to the Afghan people.
Iraq has been the template and example of what can happen if we fail to provide security after our deadline passes with now new deal signed. And I truly do not want to wake up to the news to see that the Afghan people are under a barrage of terrorist attacks on a daily basis. If we allow that to happen then we failed in kicking out the Taliban from the country. If the country unravels it can lead to the Taliban re-establishing itself once again in the country and allowing al-Qaeda regroup and become stronger then they are now.
However, we (the United States) cannot help our cause if we are conducting drone attacks that are killing innocent civilians and assuring the people that we are there to help provide security. The foreign policy in the drone program truly needs to be reviewed by the administration because not only is it affecting us in Afghanistan but as well as in Pakistan. So far the training has proved to be beneficial to Afghan forces as we have given them control of some parts of the country and they have been able to provide the security in those areas and still to this day maintain control of the territories that they were given.
The deal also states that U.S forces cannot conduct military raids on Afghan homes or allow searches of those home unless there is a immediate and direct threat to American life. Which is a big concession from the United States however, that part of the deal will not go into effect until 2015. So it will allows us to conduct those raids until then and this had played another major sticking point of the Afghan President. If no deal is signed and we pull out all U.S forces from the country we can only predict that the future of Afghanistan will resemble that of Iraq. With bloodshed everyday and a country with potential to rebuild itself and take part in the world community fall once again to the Taliban forces. Unless we hold peace talks with the Taliban in Qatar before the deal is brokered or fails then our foreign policy will have to be adjusted again to the Middle East and not the Asian Pacific.
The frustration of the American public is understandable in regards to maintaing troops in the country but we must understand that to provide some form of stability in the region we must try and do it with Afghanistan. We did not sacrifice 12 years of war which included the lives of coalition forces as well as civilian life to pack up and leave the country to its own. We have done that to the Afghans in the 80s and we cannot do it again. We must provide the proper training for the security forces and leave knowing we did our job the right way. However, Karzai stands in the way of us doing our job. So is the man that we put into the seat of leadership and the seat of governing his fellow Afghan people truly an ally to the U.S? Ill let you the reader decide that.