'Frustrated' Obama May Yank All Troops in Afghanistan

Relations with Karzai going downhill fast, insiders say

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 9, 2013 3:58 AM CDT | Updated Jul 9, 2013 7:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama is so sick of dealing with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai that he is seriously considering bringing American military involvement in the country to a speedy and complete end, senior administration officials tell CNN and the New York Times. The "zero option" of leaving no American troops in the country at all after the end of 2014 has been raised before, but it is now being seen as "a realistic path" and is one of the main options under consideration as relations with Karzai deteriorate, a senior US official in Kabul says.

Tensions between Obama and Karzai have been going downhill fast since the US began an effort last month to hold peace talks with the Taliban, insiders say, and a recent videoconference between the two ended with the relationship worse than ever after Karzai accused the US of abandoning the Afghan government and Obama responded by pointing out the American lives lost keeping his regime in power. The number of US troops in Afghanistan is set to go from the current 63,000 to 34,000 by next February. Most of those are expected to be gone by the end of 2014, but it is now possible that they could all be home by the end of next summer.

US Army soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division board a plane at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Afghanistan to return home to Fort Campbell, Ky.
US Army soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division board a plane at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Afghanistan to return home to Fort Campbell, Ky.   (AP Photo/Kristin M. Hall)
President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrive for a joint news conference in the White House, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. Relations are frosty.
President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrive for a joint news conference in the White House, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. Relations are frosty.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
In this May 2, 2012 file photo, President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai walk after they signed a strategic partnership agreement in Kabul.
In this May 2, 2012 file photo, President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai walk after they signed a strategic partnership agreement in Kabul.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
Afghan soldiers watch two US Army officers carry a giant symbolic key during  a transfer of authority ceremony in Kabul last month.
Afghan soldiers watch two US Army officers carry a giant symbolic key during a transfer of authority ceremony in Kabul last month.   (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)
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