It is time, in fact, way, way past time to go. Thank goodness they are not in charge: The attacks renewed a debate over how quickly America should withdraw its troops, with Republican defense hawks arguing for retaining a bigger force.
America's plan to hand over responsibility for securing Afghanistan faced unprecedented strains, as the U.S. and its allies withdrew hundreds of military and civilian advisers in Kabul following a string of deadly attacks by Afghan soldiers on American troops.
The U.S., Britain, Germany and France temporarily pulled out the advisers helping the Afghan government on Sunday amid a wave of unrest triggered by the burning of Qurans last week at the Bagram U.S. military base.
The broad adviser pullout not only deprives Afghan ministries of expertise in managing their affairs but also sends a pointed signal that the international community is losing faith in a government it has spent billions of dollars to rebuild after the 2001 U.S. invasion.
The attacks renewed a debate over how quickly America should withdraw its troops, with Republican defense hawks arguing for retaining a bigger force. The debate also spilled over into the U.S. presidential race, with GOP candidates on Sunday criticizing President Barack Obama's recent apology for the Quran incident.
The backlash over the Quran burning hit U.S. forces in northern Afghanistan on Sunday when a demonstrator threw a grenade at an American base, injuring six soldiers.
Ten of the 58 U.S.-led coalition soldiers who died this year have been killed by their Afghan comrades in arms. Four of those deaths—including the shooting of an American colonel and major inside the Afghan Ministry of Interior headquarters Saturday—occurred in the past week.
Americans understand, at some level, that Afghans would be upset by the burning of the Quran," said Andrew Exum, a former U.S. Army Ranger who served two tours in Afghanistan and is now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a centrist Washington think tank. "But Americans do not understand why the United States should continue to send trainers and advisers to a country where those trainers and advisers are liable to be targeted by the very people they are training and advising."
And from The New York Times on Monday.