If New U.S.-Afghan Accord is Ratified, America's Longest War Will Go Longer

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Posted Nov. 27, 2013

Interview with David Swanson, journalist, activist and author, conducted by Scott Harris


President Obama announced in May 2012 that his administration and NATO allies will end combat operations in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. But recent negotiations on a Bilateral Security Agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai have focused on maintaining a residual force of some 8,000 U.S. troops in the country to train Afghan forces, perform counterterrorism operations and support the Afghan government in their continuing fight against the Taliban insurgency until 2024 and possibly beyond.

But talks on the security agreement that could keep thousands of American soldiers in Afghanistan another decade, extending further America’s longest war in its history, has run into several obstacles. While an assembly of Afghan elders, known as the Loya Jirga, endorsed the security pact, President Karzai has said he may not sign the agreement until after national elections in April. In addition, Karzai has specified several additional conditions for his signature, including a pledge from the U.S. to immediately end all military raids on Afghan civilian homes, demonstrating a commitment to peace talks with the Taliban, non-interference in Afghan elections and a return of all remaining Afghan prisoners held at the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, back to Afghanistan.

Obama administration officials expressed frustration with Karzai’s delay in signing the security agreement and warned that without ratification of the pact soon, the U.S. would have no choice but to leave Afghanistan with no residual U.S. or NATO troops left behind. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with journalist, activist and author David Swanson, who takes a critical look at the proposed Bilateral Security Agreement that could keep thousands of U.S.soldiers in Afghanistan for another decade and beyond.

David Swanson is author of eight books including, “War No More: The Case for Abolition.” Find links to Swanson’s recent articles on Afghanistan and other topics by visiting DavidSwanson.org.

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