Several recent moves by the Afghan president, including foot-dragging on a security deal with the U.S., suddenly make sense: President Karzai was trying to broker a secret peace deal with the Taliban. He failed. Now the U.S. security deal is at stake, as American leaders gather at the White House to plan. As one source tells The New York Times, the timeframe is “weeks not months” for NATO and Washington plans. And it’s not just Karzai’s future on the line. The average Afghan life expectancy has jumped from 45 to 62 since the Taliban fell. But that number could revert once international forces leave.