Dexter Filkins, who has written extensively on Afghanistan, says that it's "difficult to overstate just how calamitous the decision, announced Tuesday, to suspend most joint combat patrols between Afghan soldiers and their American and NATO mentors is." An important point:
In some ways, it would be comforting if the Afghans who were doing these killings were Taliban agents who’d slipped inside American training camps. There is some truth to this notion, but not much. When I was in Afghanistan this spring, a senior Afghan defense official told me that he and his fellow officials had little knowledge of the loyalties—or even the nationalities—of many of the new recruits. Many, he said, were presumed to have been sent by Pakistani intelligence officials from across the border. An American official told me that "several hundred" Afghan recruits, including some officers, had been identified as loyal either to the Taliban or to the Pakistanis.
As bad as that sounds, though, the reality is much worse.
By the Americans’ own accounting, only ten per cent of the green-on-blue attacks have been carried out by Taliban infiltrators. The overwhelming majority of green-on-blue attacks are coming from ordinary Afghans signing up for the military. The very people we are trying to help fight the Taliban are turning their guns on us.
Earlier commentary here.
(Photo: An elderly Afghan man looks through a window in which Afghan riot police are reflected on Jalalabad Road during an anti-US protest in Kabul on September 17, 2012. Hundreds of Afghans staged a violent protest in Kabul on Monday against an American film mocking the Prophet Mohammed, throwing stones at a US base, torching cars and shouting 'Death to America', police said. By Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images.)