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

Friday, October 29, 2010

News of the Day for Friday, Oct. 29, 2010

Reported Security Incidents

Baghdad

A Trade Ministry employee is injured and his nephew is killed by armed attackers al-Aamel neighborhood, southwestern Baghdad.

Mosul

Owner of an exchange office is found dead. In Iraq at present, it is often difficult to distinguish ordinary crimes from political violence. As often happens in the mature stages of guerrilla war -- as happened, for example, in the case of the IRA -- insurgent groups finance themselves through robbery and extortion, and may devolve into criminal enterprises.

Amarah

Chlorine explosion at a water plant sickens hundreds. It is unknown at this time whether this was sabotage or an industrial accident.

Other News of the Day

UN High Commissioner on Human Rights issues a statement on the WikiLeaks documents. Excerpt (and good luck with that):

GENEVA (26 October 2010)– “The files reportedly indicate that the US knew, among other things, about widespread use of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by Iraqi forces, and yet proceeded with the transfer of thousands of persons who had been detained by US forces to Iraqi custody between early 2009 and July 2010. The files also allegedly include information on many undisclosed instances in which US forces killed civilians at checkpoints and during operations.

The information adds to the High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s concerns that serious breaches of international human rights law have occurred in Iraq, including summary executions of a large number of civilians and torture and ill-treatment of detainees.

The US and Iraqi authorities should take necessary measures to investigate all allegations made in these reports and to bring to justice those responsible for unlawful killings, summary executions, torture and other serious human rights abuses, in line with obligations under international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which both the US and Iraq are parties.

Afghanistan Update

U.S. and Russian forces collaborate in a raid of four drug laboratories near the border with Pakistan. This is actually a significant development. U.S. withdrawal will be greatly facilitated if regional powers can take more responsibility for addressing the narcotics problem in Afghanistan, given that Afghanistan lacks an effective government and security force.

Afghan officials say Iranian border guards killed a woman who was trying to cross into Iran illegally. There is a large flow of refugees from Afghanistan into Iran, which the Iranians appear to be increasingly trying to stop.

NATO claims a helicopter killed 20 insurgents in Spin Boldak.

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