WASHINGTON: The United States said it is considering pulling out all its troops from Afghanistan next year, White House and Pentagon officials said.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Tuesday that a “zero option” of leaving no US troops in Afghanistan after 2014 is among the policy possibilities under consideration.
“This is not a decision that is imminent,” Carney said.
Obama is committed to winding down US military involvement in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. The United States has been talking with officials in Afghanistan about keeping a small residual force there of perhaps 8,000 troops after 2014.
At the Pentagon, spokesman George Little played down friction with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and expressed confidence that there was still “plenty of time and space” to negotiate a bilateral security pact allowing for US troops to stay in Afghanistan.
Karzai suspended talks on that pact in June, accusing Washington of mixed messages regarding peace talks with the Taliban.
“I wouldn’t say that we’re frustrated. We continue to work through issues,” Little said.
“We realize that there are going to be points of contention from time to time. That’s natural of any partnership. But we think we can get through them,” he added.