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August 23. 2013 11:45PM
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President Hamid Karzai is fundamentally telling U.S. and NATO forces to swap the rubric of counterinsurgency control, hold, build for a new strategy: stop, sit, leave.Take him up on the offer.President Barack Obama should grab the opportunity to speed up withdrawal of military forces from Afghanistan. Indeed, any sense of mission in the region is overwhelmed by the debate over when to exit. Keep it simple. Start now.Karzai and his nation are reeling from tragic events that inflame passions about foreign military occupiers and create ever more hostile conditions for those forces.The murderous rampage by a U.S. soldier that claimed 16 lives is part of the daily mix of bloody reports. Afghan soldiers shooting their professed allies. Accidents in a war zone compound the personal sorrow and political tension. The crash of a NATO helicopter Friday killed all 12 on board and took four civilian lives on the ground.Karzai wants foreign troops to leave villages and return to their bases a year ahead of U.S. plans to transfer security responsibility to local forces. Only Karzai argues the Afghan National Army is capable of operating independently.Time will not mend the breach of trust and faith in U.S. and NATO forces. Deep cultural affronts, exemplified by the burning of Muslim holy scripture and the hostility fueled by civilian injuries and deaths, will not be healed.Literally prevent more bloodshed and death for all involved by leaving Afghanistan. Karzai is pointing to the exit. Follow his lead.Coy strategizing for U.S. domestic considerations will only result in a greater death toll.





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