Where most saw last month’s US burning of large numbers of Qurans at Bagram and the massive riots it set off as a major disaster, President Obama is seeing it as vindication of his current plans in the nation.
Speaking to reporters today, Obama said that the riots “concern me” but that he believes it “is an indication that now is the time for us to transition,” referring to the plan to eventually shift control over more and more parts of the country to the Karzai government’s control.
Obama added in the comments that he still plans to see the end of the transition phase by the end of 2014. This will not mean an actual withdrawal of US ground troops, with negotiations continuing to keep at least some US forces through the end of 2024.
US officials have insisted that the burning of the Qurans was an accident, but Afghan investigators say that the massive numbers of religious texts included in the organized book burning suggest that it was intentional.