French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday that he was suspending training operations in Afghanistan after an Afghan soldier killed four French soldiers and wounded a dozen more in a shoot out.
Sarkozy also said the shooting raises serious doubts about the efficacy of NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan and could possibly lead France to withdraw its 3,600 troops from the mission sooner rather than later.
The attack that killed the French troops is just one in a long line of similar attacks that have been occurring in recent weeks. U.S. Marines and other coalition troops are being killed and attacked by Afghan army soldiers that are receiving training from NATO.
The government has been mum about the rising number of such incidents because it flies in the face of, for example, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s comment last month that the U.S. is “winning” in Afghanistan. A central goal of the mission is to train an Afghan army, but so far the army is made up of illiterate criminals and drug addicts who sometimes attack NATO soldiers and quit in droves.
A recent classified coalition report, says the New York Times, “makes clear that these killings have become the most visible symptom of a far deeper ailment plaguing the war effort: the contempt each side holds for the other, never mind the Taliban. The ill will and mistrust run deep among civilians and militaries on both sides, raising questions about what future role the United States and its allies can expect to play in Afghanistan.”