Afghan Raises Doubts On Pact With U.S.

Greater prospect that all American troops could pull out in 2014

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An Afghan government spokesman said in an interview published Tuesday that several issues remain unresolved as the country tries to negotiate a security pact with the United States, increasing the possibility that all American forces will pull out of the country next year.

Aimal Faizi, a spokesman for Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, told Reuters that whether U.S. military forces can act unilaterally and the number of military bases in the country remain under debate. It’s also still a question exactly how the Americans will continue to help build and train the Afghan army.

“A lot of progress has been made on the document, but it is not finalized,” Faizi said.

Faizi’s comments throw some cold water on the more confident outlook recently expressed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. During a visit to Kabul earlier this month, Kerry said only the American demand that troops be immune under Afghan law is still unresolved before the two sides could agree on an extended timeline to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

American officials say that if a deal is not reached soon, the military could resort to the “zero option” of removing all troops, similar to the U.S. exit from Iraq when talks there failed.