KABUL, Afghanistan — With about a week left in the year, the Obama administration is backing away from a Dec. 31 deadline for securing a deal to keep American troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, though it is standing by its warning that a total military withdrawal is still possible if delays continue, American and Afghan officials said.
Afghan Gathering Steeped in Tradition, and Consent (November 22, 2013)
The decision is a tacit acknowledgment of what has become obvious in both Kabul and Washington: Neither a hard sell nor soft persuasion has yet induced President Hamid Karzai to go along with the American-imposed timeline for the agreement.
It is also an embarrassing turn after weeks of threats by some senior administration officials, including Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, that a…
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