People are disturbed and have every right to be so, especially since NATO has recently started trying to restrict the information about ANA attacks on NATO forces. There are at least three major issues here:
- There is tremendous distrust between the NATO forces and the people they are trying to mentor. This makes the entire transition process very difficult since getting out depends critically on developing the Afghan forces.
- This may cause allies to flee faster, as 58+ does not sound like a lot, but losing four French soldiers in one attack increases the KIA for France by five percent and is one of the worst days the French have had in Afghanistan. President Sarkozy has suspended operations.
- This raises huge questions about the credibility of NATO, as the happy face that the alliance has been putting on the training of the Afghans is clearly, well, a lie. Yes, there are more folks trained, and there are more capable units, but the report cited in the NYT piece makes it abundantly clear that there is far more friction and far less progress than advertised. Indeed, the "need" to restrict information on these kinds of attacks is telling--that there is not enough substantive progress to offset the bad news.
The really bad news is that it is not clear what can be done in the short time left. Other than immediately pulling out (which has its own problems), the only other choice is not to partner with the ANA. But that raises dangers as well. I have no recommendations: do you?