12 years later, thousands of US soldiers spending holidays in Af - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

12 years later, thousands of US soldiers spending holidays in Afghanistan

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WTVM/CNN -

This holiday season, commanders were looking forward to a new agreement with Afghan President Hamid Karzai that would have kept just a few thousand US troops in Afghanistan after 2014.

However, CNN's Barbara Starr reports that after a meeting with National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Karzai is now refusing to sign the very deal he helped negotiate.

In an Afghan news channel interview, Rice made clear that US patience may be at the breaking point.

"If the agreement isn't signed promptly, what I said to the President is we would have no choice, we would be compelled by necessity, not by our preference, to have to begin to plan for the prospect that we will not be able to keep our troops here," says Rice.

After 12 years of war, billions of dollars in aid, more than 2,000 troops killed and over 19,000 wounded, Afghan corruption is still rampant.

Vali Nasr of John Hopkins University says Americans are right to be frustrated with Karzai. "But frustration is not national security policy. Frustration is not foreign policy," he says.

Some members of the administration believe without a US presence, Al Qaeda will return, Iran's influence may grow, and Afghanistan will become a radical haven.

"If things fall apart in Afghanistan, then much of what we have gained can unravel and we may find ourselves having to go back in again," Nasr explains.

In the mean time, US troops still serving there this holiday season are still dreaming of home.

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