News Release

Obama-Karzai Text Allows for Tens of Thousands of U.S. Troops in Afghanistan


The New York Times just wrote from Afghanistan: “President Obama landed here Tuesday, on a surprise visit, to sign a strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan meant to mark the beginning of the end of a war that has lasted for more than a decade.

The Times claimed: “Mr. Obama, arriving after nightfall under a veil of secrecy at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul, flew by helicopter to the presidential palace, where he was to meet President Hamid Karzai before both leaders signed the pact. It is intended to be a road map for two nations lashed together by more than a decade of war and groping for a new relationship after the departure of American troops, scheduled for the end of 2014.”

HAKIM, [in Afghanistan, available intermittently] weeteckyoung at gmail.com http://ourjourneytosmile.com/blog
KATHY KELLY, kathy.vcnv@gmail.com http://vcnv.org
Hakim (Afghans frequently only have one name) is a member of the the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. Kelly is co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence and was recently in Afghanistan. They recently co-wrote a piece that states that the text was kept from the people of Afghanistan. They wrote: “While the world may accept that the U.S. and Afghan governments have some ’state’ or ‘noble’ considerations for not revealing the contents of the U.S. Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement, how about the democratic consideration of involving Afghans in their own future?

“Even the Afghan Parliament was in the dark and uninvolved until they were recently given a peek when Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, read ‘portions’ of the Agreement to assembled parliamentarians on 23rd April, saying that the U.S. will defend Afghanistan from any outside interference via ‘diplomatic means, political means, economic means and even military means.’

“The U.S. has said it expects to keep about 20,000 troops in the country after 2014. …” http://vcnv.org/the-un-may-have-silenced-the-afghan-public

Kelly added: “The SPA is likely to prolong fighting in the region because the Taliban and neighboring countries have clearly stated that they won’t accept U.S. foreign troop presence. Also, many Afghans wonder if the U.S. and NATO want to protect construction of the TAPI [Trans-Afghanistan] pipeline, which the 2010 NATO summit approved of and the New Silk Road which Hilary Clinton has promised the U.S. will construct.” Kelly is currently on a peace walk from Madison, Wisc. to Chicago, where she will arrive in time for the upcoming NATO Summit.

JACOB GEORGE, jacobdavidgeorge at gmail.com, http://www.operationawareness.org
Sgt. Geroge works with a group of veterans touring the country by bike. He recently visited Afghanistan, is based in Arkansas and is currently in Missouri. He said today: “The agreement actually allows for sustaining a ‘post-conflict’ force of 20,000 to 30,000 troops for a continued training of indigenous forces. They are pretending this is something new, but it’s not. That’s what I was doing in 2001 — and 2002, 2003 and 2004. This is just disastrous, for ten years, with the greatest military the world has ever seen, we’ve been unable to defeat people with RPGs. And a year after Bin Laden was killed, we’re still planning to keep tens of thousands of troops there.”

ABC News recently reported: “Although specific troop numbers and other military details are not included in the agreement, the U.S. has said it expects to keep about 20,000 troops in the country after 2014. They would mentor and train the Afghan National Security Forces while also taking part in counterterrorism operations.”
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/us-defend-afghanistan-decade-drawdown-16193077#.T6BNi8dYtMG