Without accord, U.S. troops to leave Afghanistan this year: Obama

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (PNA/Kyodo) — The United States will withdraw all troops from Afghanistan in late December, unless the two countries can reach an agreement on the status of American forces in the country, U.S. President Barack Obama told his Afghanistan counterpart Hamid Karzai during a phone call Tuesday.

Negotiations between the two countries over the future presence of U.S. forces in Afghanistan have broken down over the question of whether the country will enter into a bilateral security agreement, known as a BSA, that would offer legal safeguards for U.S. forces operating in the country.

“Absent a BSA, there will not be any U.S. troops on the ground beyond the end of the year,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters in a press conference following the statement. (PNA/Kyodo)