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U.S. plans possible troops withdrawal from Afghanistan

TV AND WEB RESTRICTIONS~**NONE*~ U.S. President Barack Obama has told the Pentagon to prepare for the withdrawal of all troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year in case the long-delayed Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) remains unsigned. White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama conveyed the message to his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, in a phone call Tuesday (February 25). Carney says Obama told Karzai that Washington will leave open the possibility of concluding a BSA with Afghanistan later this year, but that the longer it is delayed, the more likely it becomes that any post-2014 U.S. mission will be smaller in scale and ambition. "The fact that President Karzai has indicated that it is unlikely he will sign the BSA (Bilateral Security Agreement) means that if he doesn't sign, it is at least possible that a successor Afghan government might sign it. But that pushes us later into the year and the longer we go, without a signed BSA, by necessity th

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