The United States is now considering a complete removal of all troops from Afghanistan by 2014. The two governments had been in talks over a proposal to leave a small force, roughly 8,000 troops, in Afghanistan but it is thought that frustrations with Hamid Karazai are making the Obama administration reconsider, according to Reuters.
Relations between the two counties have become strained since the U.S. attempted to enter into bilateral peace talks with the Taliban, with the intention of brining Karzai's government in to the talks eventually. Karzai suspended talks on a security pact with the U.S. and refused to be part of any peace talks. Senior Afghan officials believe that the U.S. won't actually pull out all of their troops, reports Reuters.
"Both sides understand how to pressure each other," an Afghan official told Reuters under condition of anonymity. "But both the U.S. and Afghanistan fully understand the need for foreign troops, especially U.S. ones, to stay beyond 2014 and that it is vital for security here and in the wider region. We don't think the U.S. will compromise on that, because past experience of abandoning Afghanistan was that the country descended into chaos."
A videoconference between President Barack Obama and Karzai was held on June 27 in an attempt to put aside recent disagreements and restart the process of drafting a security deal for when the U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan. Both American and Afghan officials told The New York Times that the videoconference ended badly.
Sources say that Karzai accused the U.S. of attempting to broker a separate peace with the Taliban that would leave Karzai's government vulnerable to enemies. President Obama responded by telling Karzai that American lives have been lost propping up his regime, according to The New York Times.
As the U.S. has been attempting to figure out the most graceful way to leave the country they have always talked about the possibility of removing all of their troops, which is referred to as the "zero option," much like what was done in Iraq.
"There's always been a zero option, but it was not seen as the main option," a western official in Kabul told The New York Times under condition of anonymity. "It is now becoming one of them, and if you listen to some people in Washington, it is maybe now being seen as a realistic path."
White House officials told CBS News that at this stage no official decisions have been made.