January 9th, 2013
06:20 PM ET

0 to 9,000: Afghanistan options emerge

By Chris Lawrence and Mike Mount

The Pentagon expects to get a read on Thursday from Afghan President Hamid Karzai on what he expects from the U.S. military going forward, a defense official said.

"We're going to tell them where we think it's going as far as training the Afghan National Security Forces, and they'll tell us where they think it's going," the official said.

Karzai's visit will cover the residual troop presence following the planned withdrawal of American combat forces in 2014 as well as negotiating an end to the war, another U.S. official said.

That official said reconciliation talks have "shown some signs of life after being dormant for the past year.

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U.S. may remove all troops from Afghanistan after 2014
A cloud of dust rises from an Afghan road after US troops destroy an IED in their path. (Getty Images photo)
January 8th, 2013
07:54 PM ET

U.S. may remove all troops from Afghanistan after 2014

By Mike Mount

The Obama administration is considering the possibility of removing all U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission officially finishes at the end of 2014, White House officials said Tuesday.

The comments by Ben Rhodes, the White House's deputy national security adviser, come as the Pentagon and White House mull over the number of troops that could be left in Afghanistan after 2014 to fight insurgents and train Afghan security forces.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Obama are scheduled to meet on Friday in Washington.

Rhodes said the administration is considering a range of options, with one scenario having no U.S. troops there. The range, according to defense officials, had until recently been between 6,000 to 15,000 U.S. troops possibly remaining in the country, based on an assessment by the U.S. top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Karzai • Military
With Afghan president's visit, nations' post-2014 future takes shape
January 8th, 2013
12:00 AM ET

With Afghan president's visit, nations' post-2014 future takes shape

By Mike Mount

The Obama administration's plan to solidify the number of U.S. troops that will be left in Afghanistan after the NATO-led operations end in 2014 should come into greater focus this week as Afghan President Hamid Karzai visits Washington.

With conversations scheduled at the State Department on Wednesday, the Pentagon on Thursday and the White House on Friday, Karzai should get a better sense of how the United States plans to maintain the relationship with his nation in the future.

At the Pentagon, Karzai will be briefed on the plans to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to fight insurgents and to continue to train Afghan Security Forces.

But that plan hinges on what Karzai may want from the United States, according to Defense officials. It's no secret that Karzai wants total Afghan control of detention operations, meaning all Afghans being held by the United States and NATO allies would be turned over to Afghan authorities immediately.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Karzai • NATO
Pentagon weighs Afghanistan troop options after 2014
November 26th, 2012
05:00 PM ET

Pentagon weighs Afghanistan troop options after 2014

By Chris Lawrence

Pentagon officials are considering a preliminary assessment by Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO's International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, on "what he needs going forward" in the country as the U.S. looks to withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2014, a U.S. official tells CNN.

One of the options being considered is "to keep a force of roughly 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan post-2014," according to the official who did not want to be identified discussing ongoing deliberations. The official said that force would comprise a small number of special operations forces dedicated to counterterrorism missions, while the remaining troops "would either continue to train and advise Afghan forces, or assist with logistical issues such as medical evacuations and air support operations."

The "10,000 option" is just one of several being examined, the official said. The options represented "different ends of the spectrum" in terms of troop levels, the official added, but the official did not provide any detail as to what those options are.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has not presented a formal recommendation to the White House, Pentagon spokesman George Little said on Monday. FULL POST

September 10th, 2012
12:37 PM ET

Panetta and Karzai talk about stalled Bagram handover

By Barbara Starr, with reporting from Chelsea Carter

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai spoke by telephone Monday to discuss a brewing controversy over the handover of detainees being held by NATO forces inside Afghanistan at Parwan prison at Bagram Air Base.

"The Secretary and President Karzai did have a phone call earlier today and expressed a shared commitment to implement the terms of the memorandum of understanding on detention operations in Afghanistan," Pentagon spokesman George Little said, Little said the conversation was “cordial.”

Little would not discuss specifics of the dispute but a coalition official told CNN the US is holding on to several Afghan detainees because of concerns about whether Afghan authorities will properly handle their cases and under what circumstances they might be released. FULL POST

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Filed under: Afghanistan • ISAF • Karzai • Panetta
August 20th, 2012
06:13 AM ET

Another NATO troop killed by Afghan police officer

By the CNN Wire Staff

Another attacker in an Afghan police uniform killed a member of the NATO forces Sunday in Afghanistan, the latest in a slew of so-called "green-on-blue" attacks.

The incident took place in southern Afghanistan, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Karzai • NATO • Panetta
Clinton stops in Afghanistan during marathon trip
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will log a lot of air miles this month on a mammoth 13-day trip.
July 6th, 2012
11:14 PM ET

Clinton stops in Afghanistan during marathon trip

By the CNN Wire Staff

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to Afghanistan early Saturday as part of a 13-day trip that will tackle some of the thorniest U.S. foreign policy issues.

Clinton was in Kabul on a previously unannounced visit and will meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

During the trip, the top U.S. diplomat also will meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders, visit Egypt, where tensions are rife between military and civilian leaders, and attend a conference of leading Asia-Pacific nations, the region of increasing strategic focus for the United States.

In Paris, the first stop of the trip, Clinton attended a meeting Friday of the Friends of Syria, a group of more than 60 countries that aims to find a solution to the Syrian crisis.

Read the full CNN.com story here.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Hillary Clinton • Karzai • Secretary of State
June 7th, 2012
04:38 AM ET

Karzai condemns NATO airstrike; Panetta arrives in Kabul

By the CNN Wire Staff

Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned a NATO airstrike this week that a provincial official says killed women and children, in a statement that came just as U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived Thursday in Kabul for talks.

A provincial official has said among the dead in the airstrike were civilians, while the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said initial reports revealed only two injuries.

ISAF is aware of the claims of civilian casualties and was looking into what took place, a spokesman for the coalition said.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Kabul • Karzai • Panetta
Karzai: I will not let congressman into Afghanistan
May 21st, 2012
06:20 PM ET

Karzai: I will not let congressman into Afghanistan

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago.  Follow our reporting and other key NATO tweets with our NATO summit Twitter list.

By Jamie Crawford

If Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, an influential member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is looking for a country to visit as a member of a congressional delegation, he can cross Afghanistan off his list.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Rohrabacher have been at loggerheads over the congressman's push for a more decentralized Afghan government. Asked by CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the disagreement, Karzai said he is against letting Rohrabacher into the country.

"Until he changes his tongue, until he shows respect to the Afghan people, to our way of life and to our constitution ... No foreigner has a place asking another people, another country to change their constitution. Have we ever asked the United States to change its constitution?" Karzai said in an exclusive interview that aired Monday on "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."


Last month, Rohrabacher was asked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton not to travel on to Afghanistan with a congressional delegation that he was part of as it visited the region, after Karzai said the congressman was not welcome.

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Exclusive interview Afghan President Hamid Karzai
May 21st, 2012
01:25 PM ET

Exclusive interview Afghan President Hamid Karzai

CNN's Wolf Blitzer sits down with Afghan President Hamid Karzai for an exclusive interview at the NATO summit in Chicago. This will air Monday during the 5pm ET hour on CNN.

On Monday, NATO countries are expected to sign off on President Obama's exit strategy from Afghanistan that calls for an end to combat operations next year and the withdrawal of troops by the end of 2014.

Karzai met with President Obama on Sunday and both agreed that the end of the war is close. Karzai reiterated his commitment to the withdrawal timetable, "so that Afghanistan is no longer a burden on the shoulder of our friends in the international community, on the shoulders of the United States and our other allies."

Blitzer is anchoring "The Situation Room" live from Chicago today from 4-6pm ET on CNN.

Editor's note: Read all of Security Clearance's coverage of the 2012 NATO summit in Chicago.  Follow our reporting and other key NATO tweets with our NATO summit Twitter list.


Filed under: Afghanistan • Chicago NATO summit 2012 • FIRST ON CNN/EXCLUSIVE • ISAF • Karzai • NATO
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