(WASHINGTON) — On This Week Sunday, former Obama National Security Adviser Tom Donilon called Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign a long-term security agreement with the United States “reckless.”
“President Karzai should go ahead and sign the agreement. It has been approved by a very large assembly of leaders in Afghanistan,” Donilon told George Stephanopoulos on This Week.
“His refusal to sign it at this point is reckless,” Donilon added. “Reckless in terms of Afghanistan and I think it adversely impacts our ability to plan coherently and comprehensively… At some point it becomes impossible to make those kinds of plans.”
The agreement would maintain a U.S. troop presence in the country after the initial December 2014 deadline for withdrawal, enabling U.S. military personnel to continue to train and assist Afghan national security forces.
Despite heavy-hitting diplomacy from National Security Adviser Susan Rice who visited Kabul last week, Karzai has refused to sign the agreement, drawing criticism from both the U.S. and fellow Afghans lawmakers who support the deal. Tensions escalated this week after a drone strike reportedly killed a group of civilians, including a young Afghan boy, drawing a rebuke from Karzai who has called for the end of U.S. drone strikes in the country.
If Karzai does not sign the security agreement promptly, Donilon said he was confident the U.S would carry out a total troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, termed the “zero option.”
“Yes, if the United States does not have a bilateral security arrangement with Afghanistan that supports its troops presence there and provides the kind of guidance and protection we need, the United States cannot be present in Afghanistan after Dec. 31, 2014,” Donilon said.
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