Terrorism Trials & Investigations

Jenks on Criminal Jurisdiction as a Dealkiller for a US-Afghan SOFA

By Robert Chesney
Sunday, November 25, 2012, 6:29 PM

Over at OJ, Chris Jenks (SMU Law) contends that US-Afghan negotiations for a post-2014 SOFA are likely in the end to come apart over the question of Afghan criminal jurisdiction over U.S. servicemembers.  This is a critical point, and one well-worth bearing in mind anytime one encounters the claim that the United States will maintain a significant ground presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014.   Should Chris's prediction pan out, I think the U.S. role in Afghanistan circa 2015 will look much like its current role in Yemen (some airstrikes and a lot of Foreign Internal Defense activities).    Note that such a result would seem to run with the grain of the administration's preference for light-footprint, in-the-shadows forms of counterterrorism, not to mention enabling the President to claim the mantle of having extracted the U.S. from not just one but two overseas wars.