US vows to stand by Afghanistan policy
The United States remains committed to its efforts in Afghanistan despite retaliation at US troops in response to a Koran burning incident last week, officials said Monday, DPA reported.
"We can't forget what the mission is - the need to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda remains," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
The killing of US military advisors by an Afghan colleague over the weekend that prompted NATO-led international forces to recall personnel working at various Afghan ministries has raised questions about the feasibility of the planned handover of security operations to the Afghans.
The accidental burning of copies of the Koran by US soldiers at Bagram air base last week has prompted deadly protests across the country in recent days, but US military officials noted the demonstrations had begun to slow.
Earlier Monday, Pentagon spokesman George Little stressed that US efforts to turn security efforts over to Afghan control by 2014 remained in place.
Carney stressed that the US had made significant progress against al-Qaeda in recent years and that the US would not shift its strategy in Afghanistan in light of the recent incidents.
He called Saturday's incident as well as the killing of two other US soldiers last week "tragic, horrific and indefensible," but also noted the extent of US-Afghan cooperation.
"These are isolated incidents and - which does not, of course, mean they're not terrible - and are being investigated by both the Afghan government and ISAF," he said. "But the overall importance of defeating al-Qaeda remains."
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that the US was working with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to "try to calm the situation.