WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration has quietly stopped demanding that Afghan President Hamid Karzai finalize a stalled security pact within weeks.
That's opening up the possibility that a decision on keeping U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan might not be made until after Karzai's successor is elected this spring.
While U.S. officials say they still strongly prefer that the agreement be signed quickly, they did not rule out the possibility of waiting to see if a new Afghan leader might be easier to work with. Pushing off the decision on keeping troops in Afghanistan after 2014 comes with increased risks and complications for the U.S. military, though the Pentagon is making adjustments to give President Barack Obama that option.
Karzai's refusal to sign the security pact has strained relations with Washington.