U.S. President Barack Obama (R) turns to Afghan President Hamid Karzai as he addresses a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, January 11, 2013.
The U.S. and Afghan governments have agreed to a final draft in a bilateral agreement that lays out the relationship between the two nations and the end to the war in Afghanistan, this according to Richard Engel with NBC News.
According to a draft copy of the resolution obtained by NBC News, the agreement calls for "a new NATO-led Mission to train, advise, and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF)."
The meat of the deal is that the U.S. will keep around 7,000 troops in Afghanistan fighting terrorism and training Afghan security forces through at least 2024. The deal also outlines continued funding for ANDSF, to the tune of $4 billion annually, and most of which comes out of Washington's pocket.
The terms mean by the time the war's all said and done, the U.S. will have spent 23 years (at least), to say nothing of thousands of American lives, and billions of dollars , pursuing a set of what many people say are ambiguous goals in Afghanistan.
Veterans and others have already spoken out in no uncertain terms about this deal. Business Insider contributor Brandon Webb, a former Navy SEAL who founded SOFREP.com, a blog about special operations news, told NBC News that Afghanistan was his generation's Vietnam, just with a better homecoming.
"We still have no definitive and clear strategic objective on the table. Have we made a difference? You only have to look at the country and assess whether it will be better off after we've pulled out completely. Only time will tell but I fear we've done more harm than good," Webb said.
Oliver Knox with Yahoo News writes that the deal very well may represent a failed campaign promise for President Obama:
Obama hammered away at Republican rival Mitt Romney on the issue last year, saying the former Massachusetts governor had no timetable for bringing Americans home from the country’s longest war.
“We are bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. And I've set a timetable. We will have them all out of there by 2014,” Obama said in Boulder, Colo., in September 2012. “Gov. Romney doesn't have a timetable. I think he's wrong. That's what's at stake in this election.”
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