There are fears that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday, reportedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant who gunned down the men, women and children in cold blood, will inflame the people of that nation.
The killings of some 16 civilians in Afghanistan on Sunday allegedly by a U.S. soldier are raising new questions about U.S. military strategy: whether the surge of American troops worked, and whether the U.S. troops have won over the Afghan people or alienated them.
The place where the killings happened was a "no-go zone" for American and even Afghan troops as recently as two years ago — it was Taliban country.
The deaths of Afghan civilians, who were allegedly shot by an American soldier, could make the U.S. mission even harder. Here, an Afghan soldier leaves a home where civilians were killed Sunday in the southern province of Kandahar.
It's unlikely that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday, allegedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant, will drastically alter the course of the war.
U.S. and NATO strategy calls for a sizable contingent of international troops to stay in Afghanistan until 2014, with residual support after that. That timetable is unlikely to change.
But the task U.S. forces face in trying to stabilize the country could well be made more difficult by the shootings.