Koran-Burning Mess Threatens Afghan Exit

Some fear the US can't trust Afghan partners
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2012 8:56 AM CST
Koran-Burning Mess Threatens Afghan Exit
Afghans burn tires during an anti-U.S. demonstration over burning of Korans at a US military base, in Muhammad Agha, Logar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012.   (AP Photo/Obaid Ormur)

(Newser) – Afghanistan has roiled with violence for the past week over the Koran burnings at Bagram, leading to questions of whether the American exit strategy will actually work as planned. The US, Britain, Germany, and France temporarily removed hundreds of advisers from Afghanistan over the weekend in the wake of several retaliatory attacks—four US troops have been killed by Afghan comrades since the protests began—and some fear that Afghan security forces will not be able to protect the few Western advisers who will remain in Afghanistan after the withdrawal is complete. One adviser says he expects that upon their reinstatement, shifts will have to be shortened for the advisers' protection.

Recent months have seen a number of incidents involving Afghan security forces turning on NATO personnel—and only some out of those incidents arose out of loyalty to the Taliban, the Washington Post notes. Most involved Afghan troops who felt insulted in some fashion, such as after the Koran burning came to light, and military experts think there could be an even higher risk of such attacks after the military withdrawal. A former US Army Ranger tells the Wall Street Journal that Americans are wary of sending advisers "to a country where those trainers and advisers are liable to be targeted by the very people they are training and advising." (Read more Koran stories.)

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