McKeon: ‘Zero option’ in Afghanistan not being considered

The White House said Tuesday “there is no decision imminent” on an Afghan troop decision and disputed the report.

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“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."

The White House has previously raised the possibility of leaving zero troops behind in 2014, when U.S. and NATO forces are supposed to hand off security to the Afghans.

The Obama administration is in the midst of negotiating a security agreement with the Afghans, but Karzai suspended the talks last month after getting angered over the new Taliban political office in Doha, Qatar.

McKeon said Tuesday that “news of the 'zero option' damages our position in Afghanistan, erodes our standing with our allies, emboldens the Taliban, and demoralizes our troops.”

Senate Armed Services leaders also expressed skepticism Tuesday that the U.S. would pull out all troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

The U.S. and NATO are planning to leave behind troops in order to act in an advisory role and perform counterterrorism operations.