The recent spate of attacks by Afghan forces against their coalition counterparts is troubling, to say the least, but it should not change the timetable for withdrawal.

The announcement earlier this year by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta that the United States will end its combat mission there in 2013, one year earlier than expected, remains a viable plan.

Still, as the last of the 33,000 “surge” troops ordered by President Barack Obama in 2009 leave Afghanistan, the question remains as to what will become of the country. The Taliban, toppled from power following the 2001 U.S. invasion, started regaining momentum when America turned its focus to Iraq.

Politically, Afghanistan has had parliamentary and presidential elections and improved women’s rights under President Hamid Karzai, but his government is riddled with corruption and has grown wary of cooperating fully with the U.S.

And there is concern about the opium trade, which has fueled the rise of the Taliban.

Political instability has become the norm, and growing insider attacks only raise more questions on the timetable for an exit.

Some analysts consider asking Afghanistan to assume full security responsibility in 2014 to be a lofty goal.

The rise in insider attacks in Afghanistan is a disturbing trend that must be dealt with on the ground, but should not be used as an excuse to reverse American strategy there.

— The Buffalo News, New York, Oct. 9

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