WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama has a PR problem when it comes to Afghanistan, to say the least.

Once the must-fight war for America, the decade-long mission has spiraled into a series of U.S. missteps and violent outbreaks that have left few ardent political supporters. After NATO detained a U.S. soldier yesterday for allegedly killing sleeping Afghan villagers, Republicans and Democrats alike pointed to the stress on troops after years of fighting and reiterated calls to leave by the end of 2014 as promised, if not sooner.

"It's just not a good situation," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). "Our troops are under such tremendous pressure in Afghanistan. It's a war like no other war we've been involved in. . . . We're moving out, as the president said. I think it's the right thing to do."

Likewise, many Republicans -- who as a party fought against a quick exodus in Iraq and criticized Obama's 2008 presidential campaign promise to end the war -- are now reluctant to embrace a continued commitment in Afghanistan.

"There's something profoundly wrong with the way we're approaching the whole region, and I think it's going to get substantially worse, not better," said GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich. "I think that we're risking the lives of young men and women in a mission that may, frankly, not be doable."

Obama and top U.S. officials quickly condemned the attack. Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called Afghan President Hamid Karzai, both vowing to hold any perpetrators accountable.

The tension could be enough to raise a key question among Obama's advisers as they stare down his bid for re-election: Should Obama press NATO to speed up its scheduled transfer of security responsibility to the Afghan government at the end of 2014?

Panetta has already said he hopes Afghans will assume the lead combat role across the country by mid-2013, with U.S. and other NATO troops remaining in smaller numbers to perform numerous support missions.

Further complicating the matter is the limited patience many of Obama's top supporters have for Karzai.

"The great weakness in Afghanistan is Karzai," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). "Nobody seems to trust him or like him. And the idea of turning it over to the Afghan forces is the right way to go, but that's a major question mark: Karzai."

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