(WASHINGTON) — The White House would prefer to wrap up a post-war security arrangement with Afghanistan at some point in October but some unresolved issues may further delay a deal.
The U.S. still plans to move ahead with pulling out most of the 57,000 boots on the ground in 2014 as do virtually all NATO partners still involved militarily in Afghanistan.
However, Washington wants Kabul to sign off on a security pact as soon as possible so the Pentagon can determine how many troops will remain past next year.
Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter has relayed that concern to Afghan leaders, calling it “a tragedy if this thing wasn’t concluded soon.”
Besides figuring out troop levels for 2015 and beyond, Carter said the Pentagon must know what the parameters are for U.S. soldiers remaining at Afghan-run bases.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai would also like a post-war accord to be agreed upon, saying it would let the Taliban know that they can only end the war through diplomacy as opposed to continued fighting.
However, Karzai must win approval for the plan from a loya jirga or large assembly, perhaps explaining why it’s taking so long.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN