Apparently Afghan troops need more targets. Absolute and utterly pointless madness: “Kerry, in Pakistan Visit, Sees Longer U.S. Role in Afghanistan,” by Michael R. Gordon in the New York Times, August 1:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan “” Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that he expected the United States and Afghanistan to complete a security agreement that would allow American forces to stay in Afghanistan after 2014.
“I am personally confident that we will have an agreement,” Mr. Kerry said during a visit here.
Mr. Kerry”s comments appeared intended to reassure the Afghanistan and Pakistan governments that the United States was not abandoning the region.
Several prominent lawmakers in the United States have criticized the White House for failing to say how many troops it plans to keep in Afghanistan after 2014 and even stating that the White House has been considering pulling out all forces from there “” the so-called “zero option.” That approach, they have argued, has backfired by heightening insecurity in Afghanistan.
Mr. Kerry declined to say what issues remained to be settled in the talks over the Bilateral Security Agreement, as the accord that is being worked out by the United States and Afghanistan is known.
Nor did he indicate when President Obama would decide how many troops should remain in Afghanistan. But Mr. Kerry said he expected that American forces would remain, along with troops from allied countries, to train Afghanistan”s forces and carry out commando raids against terrorist groups as it takes over security of the country from coalition troops.
“The United States is drawing down, not withdrawing,” Mr. Kerry said. “So I am very hopeful that this is a transition, not an ending.”…