international intrigue

Live-in Divorce: Afghanistan Edition

Afghan President Hamid Karzai talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at the Presidential Pallace on March 15, 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Hamid Karzai, sitting in a chair. Photo: Scott Olson/2012 Getty Images

Following a massacre of 16 Afghan civilians over the weekend by a U.S soldier, the already strained U.S.-Afghanistan relationship has deteriorated to a new low. At around the same time the Taliban backed out of peace talks with the United States today, President Karzai, in a meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and in a public statement, called on the United States to “withdraw its troops from Afghan villages and to confine them to bases,” the Wall Street Journal reports, and to hand over security to Afghan forces by 2013 — a year earlier than scheduled. “Not a single foreign soldier should enter Afghan homes,” Karzai’s statement declared. At this point, the United States and Afghistan are basically a couple in mid-divorce which, for various reasons, must continue sharing a space, at least for a while. Afghanistan will stay in the bedroom. We’ll take the couch.