Despite the best efforts of US leaders to shrug off the killings, the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier over the weekend just won’t go away, and the fallout seems to be creating major obstacles for the already floundering US strategy.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, fresh off a meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, has called for a major reduction in NATO operations nationwide, saying that the occupation force needs to leave its village outposts and confine operations to large bases.
Meanwhile, US peace talks with the Taliban, which late last week seemed to be on the verge of making their first tentative progress, are officially dead as the Taliban has announced it is suspending those talks entirely.
The Taliban’s statement blamed “shaky, erratic and vague” US statements, but it is clear the move is a response to the growing nationwide anger at the massacre, and even the Taliban seems to want nothing to do with US negotiators.
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