Existing Afghan deal would cover US post-2014

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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is threatening to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan if a new security agreement is not signed by the end of the year.

But there's no legal reason the U.S. has to resort to the "zero option," as administration officials claim.

Retired Col. Manuel Supervielle, formerly a lead lawyer for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, says unless it's canceled, an existing status-of-forces agreement would remain in effect after 2014. He says the agreement gives the U.S. criminal jurisdiction over troops — a must-have for such agreements the U.S. signs with countries around the world.

A new security agreement, which President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign, is likely to be addressed by U.S. Gen. Joseph Dunford, a top commander in Afghanistan, when he testifies Wednesday on Capitol Hill.

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