Afghan shooting spree by a US soldier Sunday sends US-Afghanistan relations into further disarray following earlier incidents of Quran burnings and the urination on Taliban corpses.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in the south of Afghanistan for a surprise visit on Wednesday morning. Though the trip had been planned months in advance, Mr. Panetta comes here at a critical moment.
In the immediate aftermath of these recent incidents, Panetta left a war-weary home front, where many Americans, including Republican presidential candidates, are calling for an accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Defense secretary is likely to find Afghanistan no more welcoming as existing anger and frustration with America has grown to new heights in recent weeks.
“When you look at the situation right now, a large percentage of Afghans have a seriously negative attitude toward the Americans. The floodgates are open now and it will be very difficult to control the situation,” says Naqibullah, a parliament member from Laghman Province. Like many Afghans, he goes by only one name. “I don’t think Panetta will be able to say or do something that can remove the distrust of Afghans.”