I’ll Believe it when I see a SOFA.


"The Afghans have agreed to continue to allow the United States to maintain legal jurisdiction over its troops in Afghanistan, a requirement the Pentagon said was not negotiable.
Disagreement over a similar provision ended up scuttling plans for a residual force in Iraq after the end of the combat mission there in 2011. Without such a provision, U.S. forces could be tried by local courts.
The agreement needs final approval from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who has frequently frustrated the United States in negotiations."  USAToday


"A monthslong effort by the United States and Afghanistan to hammer out a long-term security arrangement has so far achieved one obvious result — each side has established clear red lines.
Read between those lines, however, and there appears to be enough common ground for each side to get what they want.
Going by the positions publicly taken by the two sides, they are at polar opposites on the terms of a continued U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan after 2014.
Afghan officials have said that if U.S. troops are to remain, they must answer to Afghan law. Upping the ante, officials as high up as the Afghan president have called for U.S. troops to pick up and leave entirely.
U.S. officials, eyeing the end of the current campaign in 2014, have made clear that they want a Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in place to protect U.S. troops from prosecution in Afghanistan. With no SOFA agreement, according to the message being sent from Washington, the "zero option" of leaving no troops behind is a very real possibility." Radio Free Europe


Only one of these reports can be true.  pl








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22 Responses to I’ll Believe it when I see a SOFA.

  1. Perhaps a threat to carpet bomb certain areas post US withdrawal if no SOFA might expedite one?

  2. Charles I says:

    I wonder what the total cost and now market value is of the kit that remains unrepatriated as of Jan 1 2014, how all that’s going to play out absent a SOFA, and when, absent a SOFA, the last date to announce and then commence the threatened total withdrawal is. There is planning for these mutually assuredly contradictory options. . . isn’t there?

  3. turcopolier says:

    Charles I
    A good question. The withdrawal from Iraq had to be accelerated because of non-agreement. pl

  4. Jay says:

    Is there any chance Obama and Kerry could be dumb enough to give in to Afghan demands and allow American troops to face Afghan courts?

  5. turcopolier says:

    Such a decision would not be accepted in the armed forces. Even these cretins know that. pl

  6. The Pelican says:

    Obama and his crewe have proven themselves to be so incompetent at everything but shoveling money to the already-too-rich I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping nothing truly serious happens on the remainder of his watch.

  7. david.ashcraft@us.army.mil says:

    However, the US has previously deployed large numbers of military personnel to a state with Islamic law: Saudi Arabia. Thus, both Presidents Bush and President Clinton,and their military chiefs did put up with our soldiers in a conservative Wahhabi Islamic state–without a SOFA…

  8. turcopolier says:

    The Saudis have been very careful over the decades not to press such legal matters too far. They are naturally cautious and would not wish to endanger relations. That has been true of USMTM people, the US Army Engineer District and the SANG Project manager’s office. I also do not recollect any such incident during the massive presence during the First Gulf War. I think there is probably a private understanding between the US and SA over this. To publicly acknowledge such an agreement would be dangerous to the Saudi government because the public and religious establishment would reject the idea. I was DATT in SA once and was covered for extraterritoriality by the Vienna Diplomatic Convention, but it is an interesting point. I still do not think that the US armed forces would accept a continuing presence in Afghanistan without a SOFA. pl

  9. bth says:

    Col. a dumb question. If we pull completely out of Afghanistan and turn over our remaining bases how would we provide air cover of any kind?

  10. bth says:

    Just another dumb question. If the central Afghan government does not grant a SOFA do we have a lower interest in preserving a unified Afghan government?

  11. Wunduk says:

    Not everyone believes that the US-AFG SOFA is key. See:
    Let’snot forget that there is an existing US-AFG SOFA (which both sides want to change for their own reasons, but not abrogate) of indeterminable duration signed in December 2001 by then Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Abdullah Abdullah und then Chairman of the Interim Administration Hamid Karzai.
    As far as US forces fall under the NATO-led ISAF, they are also falling under the provision of the ISAF SOFA (Annex A to the Military Technical Agreement of 2002 and subsequent amendments – since 2004 extended to all of Afghanistan). ISAF SOFA gives complete freedom of movement and exemption from arrest (exclusive national jurisdictions), exmeption from customs, duties, and exemption from claims to property damage.
    ISAF in itself is authorised by A Chapter VII resolution 1386 (20 Dec 2001) of the UN Security Council, authorising it to enploy “all necessary measures” inpursuit of its mandate.
    The NATO Training Mission which took over from CSTC-A also falls under the ISAF SOFA, and any future mission for the training ANSF would possibly then also come under a – yet to be agreed – UN SC authorised NATO-led mission. As any other UN SC authorised mission, the personnel would continue to be subject to exclusive national jurisdictions like in any peace-keeping mission. Same goes for the claims for damages caused. See the debates around Cholera and abuse of minors in Haiti.
    The question for the US is probably the CT activities which were never subordinated under ISAF. The US maintained here the right to self-defense according to UN Charter Chapter VII Article 51, and did not go for the collective response, and therefore is dependent on the 2002 SOFA with the Interim Administration.
    Others with a focus on training (such as Germany) envision that they can pursue their mission (train ANSF) in a UN SC-mandated NATO setting.

  12. Cold War Zoomie says:

    Carpet bomb what? Dirt roads and huts? Or are you joking?

  13. turcopolier says:

    It would seem that you are German. The US government to include Obama, Hagel and Dempsey have made it clear that without a specific new SOFA there will be a zero option. pl

  14. CWZ! Yes a joke! And of course Afghanistan has been completely modernized by the USA expenditure of Trillions.n

  15. turcopolier says:

    Why would we provide air support? For what? pl

  16. Charles I says:

    I posted before I think Canada still has about 750 containers still stranded in Afghanistan or Pakistan, same diff, several special missions later, we have determined that only 20% – so far – are filled with rocks and sand. What’s missing is either unknown or classified. Little more sheepish on the why details I recall not so much security as grease.
    So you guys probably have 75,000 “pearls”, er, containers.

  17. elkern says:

    We could get a sofa at Goodwill, but it would probably smell of cat-pee. Still, the stench could hardly be worse than the steaming pile which has been our policy standard for the last decade.

  18. bth says:

    A punitive raid I would suspect when al Qaeda reminds us from time to time that they still have some fight in them. Wasn’t it in the late 90s that we tried to whack OBL with cruise missiles that were slow given the flight path over Pakistan? A nice runway in the neighborhood with a drone hangar wouldn’t hurt.

  19. Fred says:

    Canada actually relied on native logistics providers for classified equipment movement with no Canadian forces guarding their movement?

  20. NY Times reporting Kerry corrected publically as Drone Wars proceed at record pace and not abated.
    My understanding is Drone production lines operate 24/7/365 at this point in time.

  21. Charles I says:

    In lieu of googling I recall that the line was these are all allegedly non-important/lethal/classified/etc, all the hot stuff was fully repatriated under stringent security by sea yadda yadda yaddda.
    Stranded after one of those Pakistani border closings/ multiple gas tanker attacks/ insert other incident here/ I believe, then looted, then a crime scene, then a matter of greasy negotiation, then public the revelation, not a peep since the howling over the 20% sand and rocks tariff and not-to-worry-we’re-sending-a-special-15-man-mission(all soldiers, no actors- to-see-wtf-to-do about 6 months ago.

  22. Charles I says:


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