US/Afghan relations and shootings

March 12th, 2012

Anger continues to grow following the killing of at least 16 civilians, including 9 children, by an American soldier in the Panjwai district of Kadahar Province in Afghanistan. William Keylor is an international relations professor at Boston University and the author of A World of Nations: The International Order Since 1945. He offers the following comment on the impact of the Afghan killings on U.S. withdrawal plans:

“This is another setback to U.S. plans for an orderly withdrawal and gradual transfer of counterinsurgency operations to the Afghan military.

“If it turns out that the alleged massacre was committed by one demented sergeant, and if he is promptly held accountable for his act, then it might not become a game changer.

“But if there turns out to be more than one soldier involved, it may severely undermine public support in the U.S. for the president’s gradual withdrawal plan and strengthen the argument of those who are clamoring for a prompt ending to this 10-year military operation.”

Contact Keylor at 617-358-0197; wrkeylor@bu.edu

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