Skip to main content

Obama strongly considers withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan in 2014

From Jessica Yellin, CNN Chief White House Correspondent
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Thu July 11, 2013
President Barack Obama is seriously considering withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan in 2014, an official tells CNN.
President Barack Obama is seriously considering withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan in 2014, an official tells CNN.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Pentagon spokesman: U.S. believes it can work through issues with Afghanistan
  • Obama has grown increasingly frustrated in dealing with Afghan President Hamid Karzai
  • Until now, officials had been discussing plans to keep a small force in the country
  • If the U.S. pulls out all troops, it'll be a situation similar to that in Iraq

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama is seriously considering withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014, a senior administration official told CNN.

The official's comments came after The New York Times reported the administration was looking at speeding up the troop withdrawal to the "zero option," leaving no U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Until now, U.S. and Afghan officials had been discussing plans to keep a small force behind to fight insurgents and to train Afghan security personnel.

But Obama has, in recent months, grown increasingly frustrated in dealing with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Will U.S. run for exit in Afghanistan?
Obama: Troops will be home by end of '14

Their relationship soured further last month after the United States and the Taliban planned peace talks. In response, Karzai cut off negotiations with the United States on the residual troop presence post-2014.

A "zero option" has always been among the scenarios the United States envisioned. But the new revelation means that it could be a very possible one now.

Pentagon spokesman George Little said Tuesday that Obama has not made a decision on U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan beyond 2014.

"We are continuing discussions" with Afghanistan about carrying out post-combat missions, Little said. "We continue to work through issues," he said, adding, "We believe we can work through them."

If the United States pulls out all its troops, it will be a situation similar to that in Iraq.

The refusal by the Iraqi government to extend legal protections for U.S. troops after the end of the war in Iraq was a major reason the United States left the country with no residual military training force.

Karzai has said he would like for U.S. troops to remain after the end of the NATO mission. But he also has been highly critical of the troops over the years, following incidents in which U.S. forces have killed civilians.

CNN's Adam Levine contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
updated 12:52 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
CNN's Will Ripley travels to North Korea, visiting an international wrestling festival and a slide-filled water park.
updated 5:20 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Our whole solar system appears to be inside a searing gas bubble, scientists say.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
In a raid on a luxury apartment complex, agents caught up with a French-Algerian man they accuse of bringing back terror to Europe.
updated 8:02 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
One journalist murdered, another still being held by ISIS -- a ransom negotiator talks to CNN about trying to get a hostage home alive.
updated 8:28 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Was a police officer justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown?
updated 12:54 PM EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
Don't like the country you live in? Meet the people who created their own "micronations."
updated 2:35 PM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
South Africa Music Legends stamps
Artist Hendrik Gericke puts a spotlight on iconic performers from South Africa in these incredible monochrome illustrations.
updated 5:46 AM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
We asked you what you would like to know about Ebola. Experts answer some of your most common questions and concerns.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT