Afghanistan’s President, Hamid Karzai, has called on NATO to end its military mission in his country a year early, in 2013.
It comes as the Taliban announced it is pulling out of fledgling peace talks in Qatar with the United States, describing Washington’s stance as the main “obstacle” and blaming “shaky, erratic and vague” US statements.
Tense relations have dropped to a new low after a rogue US soldier on Sunday gunned down 16 civilians in the volatile southern province of Kandahar.
In response, the US and Afghan authorities have agreed that international security forces must pull out of Afghan village outposts and return to larger bases.
Washington has also tried to calm tensions by flying the suspect out of the country but many voices in Kabul want the soldier to stand trial in Afghanistan.
The Taliban and Karzai’s statements are a serious blow to NATO however some Western politicians may welcome calls for the withdrawal of foreign combat troops a year early.