Violence in Afghanistan, including "green-on-blue" engagements by Afghan Security Forces on its NATO mentors, has become a serious problem and threat to the mission in Afghanistan.
Last weekend attacks on Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion killed two British soldiers, injured others and destroyed eight Harrier aircrafts. The death toll among NATO troops, mostly American, has reached 51.
The day of the attack there was also a NATO air strike that, according to Afghan authorities, killed eight women and children gathering firewood.
Last night a suicide attack on the road leading to the Kabul airport killed at least 12 people. Eight South Africans were reportedly killed; they were mostly aviation workers. Reportedly, the bomber was a woman.
The insurgent group Hezb-e-Islami has claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming it was a response to the recent anti-Islam video.
On Monday, thousand of protestors clashed with police at the capital Kabul, burning cars and hurling rocks at security forces.
On the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden's death, President Obama said the war in Afghanistan as we know it is over. Looking at the situation in Afghanistan, that statement may have been premature, reminiscent of George Bush's "Mission Accomplished" statement.
As a response to the recent violence and the high number of NATO troops who have been killed by Afghan Security Forces, NATO has decided to suspend any joint operations with Afghan troops. This is a serious threat to the Afghan mission, which is dependent on training Afghan Security forces to permit the NATO troop withdrawal by the end of next year.
The order, issued after a particularly bloody weekend which killed four US and two British soldiers, suspends most of the operations which U.S. and Afghan troops conduct side by side "until further notice."
While Afghans and NATO troops will still work together in headquarters staff positions, it effectively eliminates and operations in smaller units. Part of the training was the mentoring of Afghan troops, which is part of the U.S. and NATO strategy to train Afghans. Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, called the surge of Afghan attacks "a very serious threat to the campaign."
What is particularly disconcerting is the fact that not only did the Taliban attack Camp Bastion, they also shot a video showing smoke still rising from the attack, which also destroyed eight Harrier aircrafts.
The war as we knew it in Afghanistan is indeed over. It has turned into a surge of Afghan soldiers turning their guns on NATO troops. The Taliban are not defeated; in fact, the Taliban are emboldened.
A serious doubt has been raised as to the success of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. The U.S. and its allies have committed themselves to another decade of involvement in Afganistan, with a residual force and an influx of $4.2 billion, half of which is coming from U.S. coffers.
Common sense would dictate that once NATO troops have left Afghanistan, the country will revert to where it was a decade ago. The likelihood of a corrupt Karzai government surviving is next to nil.
Close to 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed during this war, while the UK has lost close to 400 and Canada 158. The question now is if the price paid was worth it. Having in mind the recent events and indications that the Taliban are well and alive, it may be time to pull our troops out to avoid more bloodshed.