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 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT