The Pentagon reported on March 2 that five U.S. military personnel have been found responsible for the inadvertent burning of Qurans at a prison in Afghanistan last month that prompted a week of rioting and violence in that country.

Five is one less than the number of U.S. troops who have been killed by supposed friendly Afghan Army troops and civilians since news of the Quran burnings broke Feb. 21.

Those killings are the latest horrific evidence that our military mission in Afghanistan — and the country itself — are rapidly unraveling, and that we should not wait until 2014 to depart. Why should any more U.S. military men and women have their lives endangered — not just by the Taliban outside their military bases, but by Afghan Army troops and civilians who may work in the same office with them?

Afghans clearly don’t want us in the country any longer. It’s hard to give much credit to statements by top U.S. brass that only a handful of insurgents are causing such problems, when U.S. troops are no longer safe, even on supposedly secure bases.

It’s time to ramp up our intelligence efforts and drone attacks from outside the country. But we should abandon Afghanistan to its murderous infighting and pull U.S. troops out of harm’s way, including harm from our alleged allies.

— The Daily Sentinel,

Grand Junction, Colo., March 4

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