Many U.S. officials and the Obama presidential campaign stress the pullout from Afghanistan and turning over security to the Afghans in 2014. However, Panetta in a recent interview on ABC pointed out the rest of the story.
Karzai and Obama signed an agreement that will see the U.S. stay in Afghanistan until 2024. Panetta said:“Well, the most important point is that we’re not going anyplace. We’re gonna, we have an enduring presence that will be in Afghanistan,”
There are two narratives. The Obama campaign narrative stresses the pullout and is addressed to those who oppose the Afghan war and want Americans home.On the other hand there is the hawk narrative peddled by Panetta that stresses the enduring presence with troops staying until 2024.
The hawk narrative can be flown when Romney attacks Obama for setting a withdrawal date. The actual number of troops to remain and issues such as immunity for U.S. troops from Afghan law apparently are not settled. Off course the partnership agreement that was signed was never passed by the Afghan parliament nor debated by the U.S. congress. For more see this article.