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Published: Sunday, 4/22/2012


Speed up the exit

U.S. forces have fought in Afghanistan for more than 10 years. The nation's problems are now for its people to solve.

If the Taliban did not focus on the United States as its enemy, it would have more reason to negotiate with President Hamid Karzai's government. If Mr. Karzai did not have the United States to lean on to make up for the shortcomings of his own forces, keep him in power, and pay his bills, his negotiating posture would be different. He would have more reason to stem the corruption in his government.

The latest embarrassment consists of photos of American soldiers posing with dead insurgents' body parts. The Pentagon's attempt to suppress publication of the photos adds to the controversy.

These pictures were preceded by images of soldiers urinating on dead Afghans, of troops burning Islamic religious texts, and of accusations that a U.S. Army sergeant murdered 17 Afghan civilians.

At the same time, a report emerged from a recent NATO meeting that Mr. Karzai wants a written guarantee that the United States will provide $2 billion a year in aid for the foreseeable future.

The case is getting stronger that President Obama's planned exit from Afghanistan in 2014 should be moved forward by at least a year. The continued U.S. presence would seem absurd instead of tragic if it weren't costing so much in American lives and money.

The United States has done as much as it can in Afghanistan. It's time to wrap things up.

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