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Doubt about reliability of Afghan partners in war

The shooting deaths of two US military advisers in the Afghan capital and the quick decision to pull coalition personnel from all government ministries injected a sobering measure of doubt about the reliability of the most important US ally in the war.

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Afghans burn tires during an anti-U.S. demonstration over burning of Qurans at a US military base, in Muhammad Agha, Logar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012.

Obaid Ormur/AP

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The shooting deaths of two U.S. military advisers in the Afghan capital and the quick decision to pull coalition personnel from all government ministries injected a sobering measure of doubt about the reliability of the most important U.S. ally in the war.

The Pentagon condemned what it called the murder of the two American officers, but said it was committed to working closely with the Afghans to counter violent extremism and to stabilize the country. 

In a written statement, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's press secretary said Afghan Defense Minister Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak called Panetta on Saturday to offer his condolences and to apologize. 

"Secretary Panetta appreciated the call and urged the Afghan government to take decisive action to protect coalition forces and curtail the violence in Afghanistan after a challenging week in the country," spokesman George Little said. 

He said Wardak told Panetta that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was assembling religious leaders, parliamentarians, Supreme Court justices and other senior officials "to take urgent steps" to stop the violence. 

The Monitor's Weekly News Quiz for Feb. 18-25, 2012

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