The US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has said that the complete US troops withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 is a ‘Real Possibility’, if the bilateral security agreement between Kabul and Washington is not signed.
Hagel said that the potential total pullut from Afghanistan now rests in the hands of Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
“It’s a very real possibility because if we don’t have a bilateral security agreement, which I have noted, that means we can’t protect our forces which would be here after 2014,” Hagel told CBS News State Department Correspondent Margaret Brenna on Sunday’s “Face the Nation.”
He also added, “No international partners will come. Afghanistan essentially will be alone. But we have no other option.”
In response to a question regarding Washington’s miscalculation in thinking Karzai could be a partner, Hagel said, the U.S. was “surprised” by Karzai’s refusal to sign the agreement.
Afghan president Hamid Karzai refused to sign the bilateral security agreement with Washington despite the pact was appoved by majority in the consultative Loya Jirga last month.
President Karzai set conditions for the signing of the pact with Washington, and demanded an immediate halt to US trops operations on Afghan homes and practical steps to start peace talks with the Taliban group.
HOwever, Hagel said that Washington still views president Hamid Karzai as a partner to United States.