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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

U.S. Remains Committed to Mission in Afghanistan Despite Recent Violence

The Pentagon said they will not be swayed by recent violent attacks.

The Pentagon said Monday that despite recent violence that has shaken relations between Americans and Afghans, the U.S. military is still fully committed to its mission in Afghanistan.

Officials did say though, that after the two U.S. officers were killed inside the Afghan interior ministry on Saturday, the U.S. is not ready to approve the continuation of its advisers' work at their Afghan offices at the moment. They have removed their advisers from the ministries after the shootings, and NATO, France and Britain have followed suit.

Along with the two military officers who were gunned down Saturday, nine Afghans were killed Monday when a suicide bomber crashed his car into the gates of a NATO base in eastern Afghanistan. 

The officers have been identified as Army Maj. Robert J. Marchanti II, of Baltimore, and Air Force Lt. Col. John D. Loftis, of Paducah, Kentucky. Their remains will be flown to the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the recent violence and attacks will not hasten the speed of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

"The No. 1 priority, the reason why U.S. troops are in Afghanistan in the first place, is to disrupt, dismantle and ultimately, ultimately defeat Al Qaeda," Carney said in a press conference. 

He added that the job is not considered complete, but did not outline any specific goals that have yet to be satisfied.

Carney called the violent events "isolated incidents" that, while important, do not overrule the "overall importance of defeating Al Qaeda," and that the country must "continue the process of, and the implementation of the president's objectives: transferring security lead over to the Afghans so that American troops can come home."

In light of the violence, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland praised Afghan President Hamid Karzai's efforts to reinstate calm saying, "We need to stay committed...and not let the enemies of a peaceful, stable, increasingly democratic Afghanistan get the upper hand in this situation."

So far, about 40 people have been killed in attacks and protests -- including four U.S. soldiers -- after the inadvertent burning of copies of the Quran by NATO troops.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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