The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

News of the Day for Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Whisker is busy this morning, so you get this abbreviated post from YT. - C

Reported Security Incidents

Afternoon Updates: Teen age suicide bomber kills 3 people in Heet, in an attack on the home of Lieutenant Colonel Walid Sulaiman al-Heeti. Heeti was rebuilding the house after it was destroyed in an earlier bombing.

Five Iraqi soldiers killed in attack on a checkpoint in al-Radwaniya, southern Baghdad. (Actually a village in the suburbs - C)

Three civilians injured by roadside bomb on Palestine St.


Hand grenade attack on a police patrol kills 1 civilian, injures 1 civilians and 1 police officer.

Reuters reports 1 civilian killed, 2 injured in roadside bomb attack on a police patrol. Can't tell whether this is a different version of the same incident. -- C


One "militant" killed, 1 injured in gun battle with Iraqi troops.


Bomb disposal expert killed trying to defuse a roadside bomb.

Other News of the Day

For what it's worth, Islamic State in Iraq, which uses the al Qaeda brand name, releases an audio taking credit for election day violence and vowing attacks on U.S. troops.

Maliki allies threaten secession of southern Iraq if no recount. (Yep, that seems to be the gist of it.) Ned Parker and Raheem Salman report. Excerpt:

Senior politicians from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ruling coalition warned yesterday that Shiite-dominated southern Iraq could severely loosen its ties with Baghdad if the nation's electoral commission failed to meet its demand for a manual recount of parliamentary election results.

The politicians, who also echoed al-Maliki's warning Sunday that sectarian violence could return without a recount, accused the U.S. of working against them.

In turn, Western diplomats and advisers to the Iraqi government described al-Maliki's circle as terrified of losing power and said Iraq is entering a dangerous period.

Afghanistan update

Two mine clearers killed, 2 injured when their vehicle hits an IED in Uruzgan. They were clearing Soviet era mines but this was apparently a remote-controlled bomb planted by Taliban.

Two NATO troops killed by a bomb, no further information available at this time, including the nationality of the casualties.

Two insurgents and 3 police killed in fighting in Ghazni.

Karzai is in Beijing for a summit with president Hu.

Afghanistan needs billions for water infrastructure, for irrigation, and electricity. Most water now flows out of the country. Of course, if Afghanistan builds more dams, its neighbors won't be happy. The resource is finite.