In the following sentence of today’s Time magazine’s article titled "Obama's Afghanistan problem: Neither Karzai nor the Taliban like the 'Reconciliation' Script," the word absent appears to be used as a preposition having the sense of ‘without.’
“Karzai's independent power base is minimal, as is his ability to influence the outcome of his country's civil war absent direct U.S. involvement. And that gives neither Karzai nor the Taliban much incentive to cut a deal with the other.”
As I don’t think I’ve seen case ‘absent’ being used in this way, I consulted OALD. It defines ‘absent’ only as a noun and verb. The Cambridge online dictionary also defines it as an adjective meaning ‘not in the place where you are expected to be, especially at school or work.’
Is it natural to use ‘absent’ as a preposition as used above? For example, would you casually say ‘It won’t go well absent your help’ in your daily conversation? Is it the same with the usage pattern of ‘short of’?