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Originally published November 28, 2013 at 4:04 PM | Page modified November 29, 2013 at 10:38 AM

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Editorial: Leave Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has trust issues with America. Fine. Bring everyone home. Now. A new pact? No, pack up.

Seattle Times Editorial

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IF Afghan President Hamid Karzai is having second thoughts about a 10-year security pact with the United States, think how Americans feel about this arrangement.

Doubt and angst can be summed up in this country by one word: Why? Twelve years of U.S. blood and treasure invested in that country produced what?

Another decade of putting U.S. lives at risk, enriching military contractors and sustaining Afghan political corruption is not in the least bit compelling for Americans.

The security agreement was endorsed Sunday by a council of elders, but now hinges on Afghan President Hamid Karzai endorsing a deal that keeps U.S. forces above the local law and allows U.S. raids on private homes. Karzai balked at the last moment.

What has U.S. occupation of Afghanistan accomplished in a dozen years? Certainly not enough stability and local competence and credibility to survive without another decade of the U.S. ground patrolling and writing checks.

The U.S. has suffered more than 2,200 military deaths and legions of wounded veterans. U.S. taxpayers have provided $96.5 billion in reconstruction aid, according to The New York Times. That does not cover the cost of the military presence and support for local forces.

The United States cannot occupy the world in the name of security. The U.S. left Iraq, appropriately enough, when a deal to protect the military from local laws could not be signed.

Keeping 8,000 to 12,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan until 2024, most of whom would come from the United States, makes no sense.

The U.S. never understood the political, religious and social environment of Afghanistan. A dozen years of dubious achievements do not justify another decade of effort that has no genuine support on the ground.

President Karzai is torn about a continued U.S. presence. Let him see how he likes seeing the last plane leave.

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