After more than a decade of
Now Afghanistan's unpredictable president,
The word "prompt" provides the administration with some flexibility, and that's fortunate. Exasperating as Karzai may be, he is still Afghanistan's leader and his expressions of concern about heavy-handed (and at times criminal) actions by U.S. personnel reflect the understandable anxieties of many of his countrymen. And there is reason to believe that he will sign the agreement sooner rather than later. It has been endorsed by a 2,500-member council of civic leaders and tribal elders, and some of that body's prominent members are pressing Karzai to act quickly.
The agreement doesn't specify how many Americans would remain after 2014. Some administration officials have talked about a "light footprint" strategy consisting of a few thousand troops, including special operations forces. Some Republicans in