More Death In Afghanistan

Sadly this Sunday a U.S. serviceman left his base in southern Afghanistan and reportedly went on a shooting spree killing 16 civilians and further complicating U.S-Afghanistan relations that have sunk to new lows after the recent Koran burning incident.

Our hand-picked leader of Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai, deemed the deed an “assassination” and charged the U.S. to provide a full explanation. Doing what we seem to do best, U.S. officials issued immediately issued apologies, without even undertaking an investigation.

Death in Afghanistan

The shootings took place in the Kandahar province follows days of rioting by Afghans outraged at the inadvertent burning of Muslim holy books even though the books had already been desecrated by the prisoners to pass messages between each other. Since the Koran burning incident 6 Americans have been murdered by Afghanistan citizens.

Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, issued a statement promising a “rapid and thorough investigation” and said the soldier will remain in U.S. custody. Allen offered his “deepest condolences” to the Afghan people and assured them that he will make sure that “anyone who is found to have committed wrongdoing is held fully accountable.”

Where are the apologies for the 6 American’s recently assassinated in Afghanistan? Where’s the gratitude for the lives lost by U.S. soldiers during the decade American and NATO troops have laid down their lives to help the Afghanistan people become free? Could it be that this soldier simply snapped after watching fellow servicemen murdered in cold blood? The same people, now free due to the ultimate sacrifice of nearly two thousand Americans, assassinated 6 U.S. soldiers and no one could’ve seen this coming? Is this right? Of course not, on either side. There is no way to defend assassinating unarmed soldiers or the acts of a troubled soldier. The failure of the Afghanistan government to address the protests in the streets of Afghanistan led to the murders of Americans and the failure of the U.S. to counsel American forces that the acts of a small group doesn’t represent the greater Afghanistan public may well have caused this tinderbox to ignite.

Relations between Afghanistan and the United States are at an all-time low as troops on the ground shift from combat operations to training and assisting Afghanistan’s security forces.

The Taliban quickly moved to take advantage of the incidents to turn public opinion against coalition forces. Any thought that the Taliban had recently softened their tone and might be willing to be a peaceful partner in Afghanistan is clearly a pipe dream. The Taliban is simply waiting out the U.S. and NATO departure to reinstate their control of Afghanistan.

Should the U.S. Leave Afghanistan?

Many are increasing their calls for the U.S. and NATO to get out of Afghanistan; but that’s an easy answer to a very difficult problem. We’ve been stuck in Afghanistan for more than 10 years because we backed a weak government that is incapable of controlling a tribal country that has defied rule for centuries. The Taliban succeeded in Afghanistan because they were strong and stood up to all challenges until we came to the country and drove them out. The iron rule of the Taliban held together a country that couldn’t be controlled by either the Russians or Americans. The dilemma is that the Taliban shares philosophy with Al Qaeda and after 911 we couldn’t allow them to provide safe-haven for terrorists. If Afghanistan fails to establish a strong central government before we pull out, whether it’s tomorrow or 2014, the Taliban will be back and we’ll be right where we were in 2001.

The White House issued a statement Sunday morning saying, “We are deeply concerned by the initial reports of this incident, and are monitoring the situation closely.”

Too little. Too late.