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  1. Afghanistan Main Page
  2. Soviet Invasion
  3. The Rise of the Taliban
  4. The U.S. Responds to the September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks
  5. Reemergence of the Taliban
  6. Taliban Attacks Become More Deadly
  7. Afghanistan Holds Second Direct Presidential Elections
  8. Support for the War on the Wane
  9. Osama bin Laden Is Killed
  10. Violence and Assassinations Diminish Confidence in Afghanistan's Security Forces
  11. U.S. Begins to Reduce Its Role in Afghanistan as Relationship Deteriorates
  12. Karzai Rejects Security Deal with U.S.
  13. Presidential Election Marred by Allegations of Fraud; Unity Government Formed
  14. Taliban Detainees Released in Prisoner Swap With U.S.; U.S. General Killed
  15. U.S. and NATO End Combat Operation in Afghanistan
  16. President Ghani Announces Cabinet Months After Taking Office; Visit With Obama Results in Additional U.S. Support
  17. Taliban Founder Reportedly Dead
  18. Taliban Captures Kunduz, Doctors Without Borders Hospital Hit in Airstrike
Karzai Rejects Security Deal with U.S.

In June 2013, the Taliban opened an office in Doha, Qatar, and its representatives held a press conference with an international media contingent. The U.S. said it would begin long-delayed peace talks with the group. Afghanistan was expected to do the same, but instead said it would not engage in any dialogue with the Taliban, saying such discussions lent the militants credibility. Karzai also seemed to want to control the terms of the talks, saying they must be "Afghan-owned and Afghan-led," implying they could not be held in Qatar. In addition, Karzai pulled out of talks with the U.S. on the bilateral security agreement, which will govern the status of remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the U.S. withdraws in 2014. Talks on the bilateral security agreement resumed in the fall, and after a series of negotiations, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry and Karzai reached a deal in late November that has a residual force of some 8,000 to 12,000 troops staying in Afghanistan through 2024 to train and advise Afghan troops. The soldiers would not engage in combat. In addition, Afghanistan will continue to receive about $4 billion each year in international aid. Karzai reluctantly agreed that the remaining U.S. troops would have immunity from persecution under Afghan law and that special forces could "complement and support" Afghan raids on private homes. Before Karzai would sign it, he sought approval from a loya jirga (a council of Afghan elders), which deliberated for four days before endorsing the deal. Karzai, however, balked and said he would not sign unless the deal was renegotiated and the U.S. agreed that troops would not participate in raids on Afghan homes. He also indicated he would not sign the agreement until after elections in April 2014. U.S. officials told Karzai that they will begin planning for a full withdrawal by the end of 2014 if he did not sign the agreement by the end of 2013.

Afghanistan released 65 inmates held at the high-security Bagram prison in February 2014, angering the U.S., which said the prisoners were hardened terrorists with U.S. "blood on their hands." The move further deteriorated the relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan, diminishing hopes that Karzai would sign the bilateral security agreement before April's elections. In light of the developments, the Obama administration began making plans for a full withdrawal. In May 2014, Obama announced that about one-third of the 30,000 troops still stationed in Afghanistan would leave at the end of 2014, half of those troops would be withdrawn by the end of 2015, and by the end of 2016 only a skeleton crew would remain to protect the U.S. embassy in Kabul and help Afghans with security issues.

Next: Presidential Election Marred by Allegations of Fraud; Unity Government Formed
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