By Jeremy Herb - 07/09/13 09:58 PM EDT
“For him to suggest that somehow or another we’re imposing something and that he’s giving up something by having us stay — that suggestion I think is so-off base that we’ve got to find a way of disabusing him of thinking that he’s got leverage,” Levin said.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the top Republican on the Armed Services panel, said he has serious problems with withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan — and he added that he had not heard the idea suggested by any administration officials.
“The zero option is one that would be very difficult to do,” Inhofe said. “The key is the number of people that we would leave there to make sure the numbers are great enough that they would not be in danger.”
The White House said Tuesday “there is no decision imminent” on an Afghan troop decision and disputed the report.
We publicly said [eliminating a military presence by 2014] was available to us six months ago," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. "The suggestion a video conference call was determinative of anything was incorrect."
Karzai last month suspended negotiations on a U.S.-Afghan security agreement after he was angered by the way the Taliban’s new office in Doha, Qatar, was established. Karzai also pulled out of negotiations with the Taliban one day after they were announce by the U.S.
In 2011, the U.S. pulled out all of its troops from Iraq after failing to secure a security agreement with Iraqi officials. The impasse centered over granting U.S. troops immunity from Iraqi courts.
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said that the latest suggestion all troops could leave Afghanistan was ill timed.
"If it’s a political ploy it’s a miscalculation,” Ayotte told The Hill. “I don’t think it’s an option that’s been presented to them by the generals on the ground. I think it’s irresponsible and the timing of this is very poor.”