President Obama’s spokesman assured reporters that the latest potential insider attack in Afghanistan had not shaken their commitment to leaving the country by 2014.
“Make no mistake though that these attacks do no diminish in any way the commitment of the president. the commitment of our men and women in uniform, or the commitment of our allies to follow through and complete successfully the mission to end the war in Afghanistan in 2014,” White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said yesterday.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has noted the irregularity of such a position during a conflict. “Dates for withdrawal are dictated by conditions,” McCain said in 2009. “The way that you win wars is to break the enemy’s will, not to announce dates that you are leaving.”
Earnest was responding to questions about a firefight between American troops and their Afghan allies — early reports indicated it was an insider attack by the Afghans against the U.S. — that claimed the life of one United States soldier.
“On Sunday, a U.S. official confirmed that an American soldier was killed in a firefight that broke out between Afghan and U.S. troops, sparked by either a premeditated attack or confusion about the origins of an insurgent strike,” the Associated Press is reporting today.
Earnest said the military was taking precautionary measures currently to avoid insider attacks. “This includes greater vetting of Afghan forces,” he said. “This includes closer coordination with village elders in some of these places in Afghanistan who can vouch for the efforts of ISAF and our allies there.”
McCain, speaking more recently about a departure from Afghanistan, indicated a willingness to leave the country immediately rather than leave troops their under a bad strategy.
“I think all options (should) be considered, including whether we have to just withdraw early rather than have a continued bloodletting that won’t succeed,” McCain said two weeks ago, per the Associated Press. “The whole program has to be re-evaluated because the process they said would lead to that (December 2014) withdrawal has been an abject and total failure.”