Afghan president Hamid Karzai speaks during a Nov. 30 joint press conference with Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. Tom Donilon, former national security adviser, said Karzai is being 'reckless' in refusing to sign a new security agreement. (AFP / via Getty Images)
President Obama’s former national security adviser says Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai needs to understand that the “zero option” — no U.S. or allied troops left in his country after 2014 — is very real.
Tom Donilon, who left his national security post earlier this year, told ABC’s “This Week” that Karzai is being “reckless” in refusing to sign a new security agreement.
The proposal would allow the U.S. and allies to maintain a residual force in Afghanistan after combat operations end in 2014, for purposes of training and counter-terrorism.
Karzai has said he doesn’t want to sign the agreement until after the Afghan elections in April. President Obama and aides have said they don’t want to wait that long, and have begun discussing the so-called zero option.
“His refusal to sign at this point, I think, is reckless,” Donilon said. “I think it’s reckless in terms of Afghanistan, and I think it also adversely impacts our ability to plan coherently and comprehensively for post-2014.”
Donilon said that it will become impossible to plan for post-2014 Afghanistan unless specific rules are in place soon.
Said Donilon: “If the United States doesn’t have a bilateral security arrangement with Afghanistan that supports its troop presence there — and provides the kinds of protections that we need — the United States cannot be present in Afghanistan after December 31st, 2014.”