msnbc | January 06, 2013
>>> tomorrow president hamid karzai of afghanistan will meet with president obama of the white house . when to keep u.s. troops in afghanistan when their mission comes to an end, and if so, how many. it's an issue senator lindsey graham says is key to america's success in the region.
>> the possible solutions have a small footprint left behind in afghanistan where they become sitting ducks and it will lead to failure. we've fought too hard, too long to not get things right. his decision about a 2014 force will affect national security for decades. i'd like to support the president if it's a robust number. tha thanh, good evening your time. karzai has a key role in the status of the troops in the region. what is that exactly?
>> reporter: alex, a lot of what's going to happen here in afghanistan post- 2014 may hinge on this notion of immunity and president karzai and what he decides to do with that. that immunity would basically give legal protection for whatever force is left behind here in afghanistan , and it would give legal protection for those troops in the event they break local law . it's a big deal because the u.s. decided not to leave any residual forces in iraq after the withdrawal there, when the iraqi government decided to not grant any immunity to troops there. let's talk about the numbers and what the scenarios are right now. reportedly, the obama administration is right now considering troop levels to be 3,000, 6,000, or 9,000. those numbers are considerably smaller than those numbers suggested by the head of u.s. forces in afghanistan , general john allen . he suggested that troop leflds would levels should be 6,000 to 20,000. the thinking, if there's a smaller contingent, 3,000 forces, that would be a more nimble force, special operations leaning, doing night raids. if there's a larger contingent of forces, 20,000, they'll assume the traditional roles, patrolling, working with afghan forces, and training as well. here on the streets, there are mixed emotions, quite frankly, about what's going to happen. many afghans actually welcome the idea of a smaller foreign footprint. on the other hand, many are also fearful that, if that happens, there's going to be a resurgence and outbreak of violence in a place that's already plagued by it. the taliban this weekend vowed more of what it called war destruction if the u.s. leaves behind a residual force. that's a sobering reminder of the instability here, alex.
>> i appreciate the breakdown of the numbers and what they would be doing.