Afghanistan is trying to make money off the United States as it attempts to withdraw its forces and equipment after a costly, 12-year involvement.
The United States went there, of course, in pursuit of its own interests in 2001 -- to drive out al-Qaida and the Taliban government that hosted it in response to the 9/11 attacks. American efforts since then, carried out with varying levels of skill, have been directed at installing a society that would not be a base for another al-Qaida assault.
Most Americans agree that, after 12 years, the United States has done about as much as it can in Afghanistan, and President Barack Obama has set 2014 as the end of U.S. military involvement.
The question of how many troops are left behind for training or other noncombat purposes is, in principle, being discussed between American and Afghan officials. President George W. Bush's decision, maintained by Mr. Obama, to withdraw all American forces from Iraq at the end of 2011 is a useful precedent for ending an American war in that region.
President Hamid Karzai's government is now haggling on at least two aspects of the exit as it draws near. The first is an effort by the Afghans to make money from the withdrawal of the United States' extensive outlay of equipment. The Afghan government is carrying out a process of bureaucratic harassment, involving reverse customs fees, fines and other procedures that The New York Times reported Friday could cost the United States up to $70 million extra.
The other action involves U.S. efforts, along with Qatar, to encourage nation-mending dialogue between the Karzai government and the Taliban. It is a miracle, after all the United States has been through in Afghanistan, including the deaths of more than 2,200 U.S. personnel, that Washington is still interested in achieving Afghan national reconciliation. Yet a high-level Karzai government official is now leveling accusations that the United States is actually colluding with the Taliban to divide Afghans.
That allegation is baseless and would be unimaginable if America and the rest of the world hadn't already seen just about everything possible in terms of self-destructive behavior in that country.