Obama Administration: Shooting won’t derail progress in Afghanistan
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai from his vehicle on Sunday, March 11, 2012.
March 12th, 2012
11:52 AM ET

Obama Administration: Shooting won’t derail progress in Afghanistan

(CNN) - Even as U.S. officials work overtime to mitigate Afghan outrage caused by the reported killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier over the weekend, administration officials assert the massacre will not derail discussions on the role of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when foreign combat troops are scheduled to withdraw.

“This was a horrific and shocking incident,” a senior administration official tells CNN. “But it does not change the strategic imperative for us to continue implementing our strategy - defeating al Qaeda and strengthening the Afghan state so that groups like al Qaeda can never find a home there again.”

Citing a recent agreement by U.S. and Afghan officials on a U.S. run detention center, the official said the two countries will continue to work together even during this tense time. The ‘memorandum of understanding’ (or MOU) signed Friday details how the U.S. will hand over control to Afghan authorities of a detention center housing 3,000 people and was agreed to despite the outrage and anti-U.S. violence stemming from the apparently inadvertent burning of Korans by U.S. troops last month. The negotiation took more than a year to complete and was a key sticking point in negotiations on the role of the United States in Afghanistan.

“We have seen difficult challenges in Afghanistan over the past decade and gotten through them, including in recent weeks,” the official said. “Even after the Koran desecration and killing of U.S. troops in the Ministry of Interior – devastating incidents - we were able to work together to calm tensions and get back to the job at hand. We resumed our work and shortly after those incidents resolved difficult, long-negotiated detention issues to sign an extremely important MOU last Friday. We know that there will be more challenges ahead, but we remain confident in the strength of our partnership with the Afghan people and fully committed to our strategy and the framework we agreed to at Lisbon.”

In the wake of the reported killings, the Obama administration is watching developments in Afghanistan closely in anticipation of anti-U.S. violence.

U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker and U.S. military commanders, in addition to other U.S. diplomatic and military officials, are in touch with Afghan leaders, including at the local level. They are stressing how seriously the U.S. government is treating the killings, that the soldier reportedly responsible was a lone actor and that he will be held accountable for his actions.

soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. demwit

    Progress! What progress!?

    March 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • rightytighty

      Obama's cut and run progress....., dumb@ss

      March 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  2. John

    What type of vehicle is this? Looks like the back seat of a Volt...

    March 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
  3. Steveo

    Hopefully, the Afghanis feel the same!

    March 12, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  4. judy

    what will derail progress is the big mouth repo candidates that think they know something about foreign policy. I don't think any of them are in on any of the military breifings so they should keep their big fat mouths shut. Blaming the president really goes over big with the rest of the world. And undermining foreign policy by stupid gung ho remarks don;t help. Bunch of arm chair quarterbacks spouting off as usual. Obama 2012

    March 12, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Name*Liz Carter

      Judy...I agree. However, that's what they do and have been doing since day one! Running their fat mouths publicly on things they don't have the slightest idea about when it comes to foreign policy, in attempts to diminish the President and to make him look weak and small to the worlda! Oh, that's been their only goal since he stepped into the Oval Office! They know what their doing alright! It's called sabotage!! They will continue to do this until an act of GOD stops them...and it's coming soon!!

      March 13, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  5. cloudjumper

    I find it very ironic that as soon as Obama got in office and started his world apolgy tour through the Mid-East telling all the radical leaders that we're their friends and they should reciporcate, they took his position as meaning this man has no backbone and will not stand up against us. Think not? Look what's happened in Tunisa, Egypt, Libya and Syria. None of them ever thought they could rise against the U.S. when a Republican held the office. Clinton, he had the same effect with what went on in Bosnia and so on. Now these countries are being run by the infamous Muslim Brotherhood. A group that was literally underground until Obama took his stance. ...I'm just saying.

    March 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm |