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Doubt about reliability of Afghan partners in war

Afghans carry a wounded man during an anti-U.S. demonstration in Kunduz, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. At least 25 people have been killed and hundreds wounded since Tuesday, when it first emerged that Qurans and other religious materials had been thrown into a fire pit used to burn garbage at Bagram Air Field, a large U.S. base north of Kabul. (AP Photo/Ezatullah Pamir)

WASHINGTON – The shooting deaths of two U.S. military advisers in the Afghan capital and the quick decision to pull coalition personnel from all government ministries injected a sobering measure of doubt about the reliability of the most important U.S. ally in the war.

The Pentagon condemned what it called the murder of the two American officers but said it was committed to working closely with the Afghans to counter violent extremism and to stabilize the country.

Even if Saturday’s killer turns out not to be an Afghan, the deaths compound a perception of insecurity in the heart of Kabul after a series of recent security failures and Afghan outrage over U.S. burning of Muslim holy books. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said the attack, was in retaliation for what U.S. officials have said was the inadvertent burning of Afghan religious materials, including Qurans, at Bagram air base north of Kabul.

Allen, who commands both U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, said the killer’s actions “will not go unanswered.” Citing security reasons, he recalled all coalition personnel from Afghan ministries. AP