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A little more than a week ago Vice President Biden criticized Governor Romney for suggesting that should the generals recommend it based on conditions on the ground he may keep a a presence in Afghanistan past the 2014 date. According to the State Department the SCHMOTUS may not been entirely truthful as negotiations for that extended presence has already begun.

In his debate with Paul Ryan, “tickle me Biden said:

 Martha, let’s keep our eye on the ball. The reason I’ve been in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq 20 times — I’ve been up in the Kunar — I’ve been throughout that whole country, mostly in a helicopter and sometimes in a vehicle. The fact is we went there for one reason: to get those people who killed Americans, al-Qaida. We’ve decimated al-Qaida central. We have eliminated Osama bin Laden. That was our purpose. And in fact, in the meantime, what we said we would do, we would help train the Afghan military. It’s their responsibility to take over their own security. That’s why, with 49 of our allies in Afghanistan, we’ve agreed on a gradual drawdown so we’re out of there by the year — in the year 2014.

My friend and the governor say it’s based on conditions, which means it depends. It does not depend for us. It is the responsibility of the Afghans to take care of their own security. 

A senior official in the state department told Josh Rogin of The Cable the State Department is about to begin formal negotiations over the extension of U.S. troops past 2014.

Marc Grossman, the State Department’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, explained today that’s [Biden’s claim] not the whole story.

Grossman said Tuesday that the point of the upcoming negotiations is to agree on an extension of the U.S. troop presence well past 2014, for the purposes of conducting counterterrorism operations and training and advising the Afghan security forces.

Grossman said that while meetings on “how we will manage our forces going forward in Afghanistan,” have already taken place, formal negotiations have not yet begun. Once the negotiations formally start, the Bilateral Security Agreement must be completed within one year, according to the Strategic Partnership agreement, Grossman explained.

Some U.S. military officials have said the plan is to keep 25,000 American troops in Afghanistan past 2014, but Grossman insisted that there is no number yet and the 25,000 figure quoted in reports is speculative.

Perhaps Biden wasn’t told about…after all no one told him that Benghazi was a terrorist attack.

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