By Alan Greenblatt with National Public Radio:
It’s unlikely that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday, allegedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant, will drastically alter the course of the war.
U.S. and NATO strategy calls for a sizable contingent of international troops to stay in Afghanistan until 2014, with residual support after that. That timetable is unlikely to change.
But the task U.S. forces face in trying to stabilize the country could well be made more difficult by the shootings.
“No one is going to accelerate the timetable for departure,” says Rajan Menon, an international relations professor at Lehigh University. “The real question is what the next two years are going to look like.”
The recent shootings come on the heels of other events that have offended and upset Afghans, including the inadvertent burning of copies of the Quran by American soldiers in February and video footage of Marines urinating on corpses that emerged in January.
President Obama has expressed regret for all the incidents, but his administration has shown no sign that it will change policy as a result of the most recent shootings.
“Without underestimating the magnitude of this event, we’ll maintain a course that makes sense,” says Rick “Ozzie” Nelson, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “We have to keep in mind the strategic implications of this [war].”
You can read the full NPR story HERE.