Anti-American sentiment is at record high levels in Afghanistan, a factor that promises to complicate what is already shaping up as a tricky transfer of security responsibilities from Western forces to indigenous military and law-enforcement entities.
Under the existing timeframe, the Afghan government will assume in 2014 primary responsibility for maintaining security in the country. The transfer of authority would involve the withdrawal of the bulk of US troops that are currently fighting to contain the Taliban insurgency. Growing Afghan displeasure with the US military presence means that many are eager for foreign troops to leave. “The people of Afghanistan no longer desire to see others defend their country for them,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai said March 22.
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Aunohita Mojumdar is an Indian freelance journalist based in Kabul.