Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey said negotiations on the U.S.-Afghan security agreement are over, and the pact will not be changed.
Dempsey said in Afghanistan late Tuesday that while he is not yet planning a “zero option” for a full withdrawal of U.S. troops, the prospect was an “unfortunate possibility” if the deal is not signed, according to The Associated Press.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign the agreement, saying he wants to wait for his successor next spring. He’s also called for an end U.S. raids in Afghan homes and a greater effort to restart the peace process with the Taliban.
U.S. officials have demanded Karzai sign the security pact by the end of the year, threatening to withdrawal all U.S. forces if he does not do so.
The agreement would pave the way for U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan through as long as 2024 to help train Afghan forces and conduct counterterrorism missions.
Dempsey said that Afghan forces have made gains but still need the international help.
“The development of the security forces will be impeded, will be slowed, and in some parts of the country I suspect could be reversed,” he said at the U.S. base in Bagram, according to the AP.
In an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde, Karzai accused the United States of acting like a colonial power and making threats.
Dempsey disagreed with the assessment.
"It's not a threat,” he said. “I just simply think that in any negotiation you reach a point when you've made the requirements known. And militarily, by the way, those requirements are actually quite clear."