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 10:27 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
Hamas' tactics have changed -- now the group is using commando-like tactics, says CNN's Ben Wedeman.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 4:42 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 11:40 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Some contend that larger weapons have come into Ukraine from Russia.
updated 2:09 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
A California homeowner's nightmare has become a cautionary tale for those who rent their homes to strangers.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Former President Bill Clinton acknowledges he got "very close" to helping achieve peace in the Middle East.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
updated 7:27 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Inspirational, creepy or just weird? CNN meets the 51-year-old man who dresses like a schoolgirl.
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