Dempsey: No U.S. troops in Afghanistan possible, but no withdrawal plans yet
December 4th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

Dempsey: No U.S. troops in Afghanistan possible, but no withdrawal plans yet

By Jennifer Rizzo and Shirley Henry

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said Wednesday he clearly understands a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 - known as the "zero option" - is a "possibility" given Afghan President Hamid Karzai's current unwillingness to sign the security pact that would govern some troops remaining in his country beyond that time frame.

But Dempsey also said he has not been told to plan for such a withdrawal.

The United States is pushing for the agreement to be signed by the end of 2013, although Dempsey said the Pentagon could still figure out a way to leave a residual U.S. force behind if an agreement is signed by early summer of 2014.

"Nothing is irreversible," Dempsey said, referring to troops that would have been withdrawn from Afghanistan by then.

However, Dempsey warned that a delay would result in an "erosion of the coalition" because NATO countries engaged in Afghanistan could not necessarily wait as long for an agreement. A delay also would erode confidence among the Afghan security forces that U.S. and NATO troops are continuing to train and support.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry highlighted the concern for NATO allies in Brussels on Tuesday.

"There are over 50 nations who are engaged here through NATO in trying to help Afghanistan," Kerry said. "And those nations have budget cycles. Those nations have planning requirements. Those nations have equipment requirements. They have deployment requirements. And all of those things are best managed with planning."

The agreement has been endorsed by the Afghan council of tribal leaders, called the loya jirga, but Karzai said he won't sign it until after the country's elections in April and until certain conditions are met. These conditions include an end to U.S. raids on Afghan homes and the release of Afghan prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

Washington has resisted such changes, saying Karzai's demands are new provisions added to a deal that was already reached.

Kerry, however, thinks the authority to sign the pact doesn't lie with Karzai alone.

"His minister of defense can sign it, the government can sign it, somebody can accept responsibility for this," Kerry said.

The security pact would be necessary to protect any residual force of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Laverna Winklepleck

    This actually answered my drawback, thanks!

    February 23, 2021 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  2. Nathaniel Voitier

    I have recently started a blog, the info you provide on this website has helped me greatly. Thanks for all of your time & work. "A physicist is an atom's way of knowing about atoms." by George Wald.

    January 28, 2021 at 10:48 pm | Reply
  3. Cory Narrow

    You could definitely see your skills within the work you write. The arena hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren't afraid to mention how they believe. At all times follow your heart.

    January 24, 2021 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  4. Bambi Zubrowski

    Perfect story! Thought about loved the very learning. I’m hoping to read simple things a great deal more from your website. You will find you might have good information and also thought. Now i’m absolutely satisfied utilizing this critical information.

    January 12, 2021 at 12:25 am | Reply
  5. bobhamiltonchicago

    Zero troops and zero dollars in Afghanstan

    December 6, 2013 at 8:03 am | Reply
    • Jack Hollis

      Thank you, Bob. I couldn't agree more!

      December 6, 2013 at 8:31 am | Reply
  6. Mgfd Fhjkkl


    December 6, 2013 at 1:19 am | Reply
  7. denverboy

    If Karzai wants indecision.... Let him have it a short rope from the Taliban as well ... Say good by Adios Karzai..hope you have ride outta the party....

    December 5, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Reply
  8. AVP

    We are not leaving no time soon.

    December 5, 2013 at 6:35 am | Reply
  9. Truth

    Let Afghanistan fail. If terror activity begins again, destroy Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    December 4, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Reply
  10. George patton

    The so-called "zero" option is the only sensible one that there is. The Russians tried in 1989 and they liked it. Let's just do the same! We need absolutely no troops in Afghanistan or anywhere else in that part of the world!!!

    December 4, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Reply

Leave a Reply to AVP


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.