Afghanistan’s Karzai balks at signing security agreement

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KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Imagine what it would be like if world leaders conducted international diplomacy like The Godfather.

It might make dealing with some world leaders a bit easier, and by some we mean Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai.

Karzai is stalling and threatening not to sign a long-term security agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan that deals with what happens after the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces at the end of next year.

Karzai says he won’t sign anything until the U.S. begins peace talks with the Taliban, and agrees to release all 17 afghan citizens held in Gitmo. (Imagine if he told that to Vito Corleone.)

US National Security Advisor Susan Rice paid Karzai a surprise visit to explain why he should sign. She was probably a bit more diplomatic than Don Corleone, but the message was similar: no agreement, no help with security, military advising, and counter-terrorism training. In other words: you’re on your own, pal.

That’s the diplomatic equivalent of an offer he can’t refuse.

If Karzai still refuses, though, Rice told him that Afghanistan could lose $8 billion a year in international pledges to fund the country’s military and help economic development, which is a lot better for Karzai than having the president go all Godfather on him.