Just as they did in Iraq, Obama administration officials are pleading with the Afghan government to sign a long-term agreement that will allow the US to keep troops and bases in the country after the agreed “withdrawal” date. And just as in Iraq, it’s beginning to look like there will be no such agreement despite dire warnings of what will happen after the US and its allies leave.
Washington and its allies want to have the US-Afghan strategic partnership agreed before May, when a Nato conference in Chicago is expected to pledge long-term help to Kabul with finances and military training.
But negotiations have dragged on for over a year and Karzai is adamant he will not give ground on his two main demands ”“ for Afghan control of jails and an end to night-time raids on Afghan homes.
Western officials say the first is not practical and the second would compromise the military effort.
“If they don’t change their position there will be no strategic partnership before Chicago,” said a senior Afghan official familiar with the negotiations. “We are not willing to compromise when it comes to sovereignty.”
The obvious moral of this story is that usually people find too late that they would rather go to Hell in a handbasket of their own devising than one provided by foreign firepower. Libyans may yet find they regret their aftermath more than their pre-war situation. Syrians and Iranians too, if the West’s meddlers and warhawks get their way.