Report: 'Zero Option' In Afghanistan Is Becoming Much More Likely

Senior administration officials tell The New York Times that the U.S. is actually considering the idea of a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan before the official 2014 pull out.

The campaign has been fraught with recent disappointment, from the failure of peace talks in Doha, Qatar, and what seems to be a rapidly deteriorating security situation. To make matters worse, the consistent and growing intransigence of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has now led officials to lean on the less popular "zero option" — complete withdrawal.

“There’s always been a zero option, but it was not seen as the main option,” said a senior Western official in Kabul to the Times. “It is now becoming one of them, and if you listen to some people in Washington, it is maybe now being seen as a realistic path.”

Leaving the country isn't so easy though. First, the logistics alone would be a nightmare. Like Iraq, the U.S. is likely to leave several billion dollars worth of equipment behind.

Furthermore, the security agreement with Pakistan is likely to be a sticking point. Many analysts say Pakistan has grown to depend on American military assistance.

Furthermore, recent Taliban attacks on the capital, on judges, and even on schools, prompt one to believe that the extremist group is poised now more than ever to take over once the U.S. leaves.

The final question comes down to Afghan security forces: are they really ready to take over, or is the confidence coming from military leaders just more smoke and mirrors?

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