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, October 27, 2010

News of the Day for Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reported Security Incidents

Baghdad

Bomb at a checkpoint near the Sunni Endowment kills 2 security guards.

AP also reports a bomb hidden in a pickup truck kills the driver and injures 3 bystanders.

One civilian killed, 1 injured by a sticky bomb attached to a truck delivering gas cylinders. Could possibly be the same incident as above -- reported casualty tolls often differ.

Sahwa leader assassinated in southern Baghdad.

Kirkuk

Three restaurant workers killed by a bomb late Tuesday.

Also late Tuesday, 10 killed, including 2 police, 13 injured, in attempted robbery of a gold market.

Mosul

Two soldiers killed, 9 people injured in a bomb attack on a military patrol.

DPA also reports gunmen killed a policewoman and injured her brother.

Fallujah

Two soldiers, 1 other person injured in bomb attack on a patrol.

Baaguba

Chief of the Jalawlaa investigation department, Major Mohammad Ibrahim, and 3 of his companions are killed by a bomb attack on the highway.

Amara

A U.S. soldier, guarding a provincial reconstruction team, is injured by sniper fire.

Other News of the Day

NYT's John Leland and Khalid D. Ali discuss the tension between Anbar Province and the central government over natural gas development. This is key to Iraq's future -- will the Sunni hinterlands accept the authority of the Shiite-dominated Baghdad government, particularly over distribution of the oil and gas wealth of the country? I very much doubt it. -- C

Glenn Greenwald has a word or two for John Burns and coverage in general of the WikiLeaks Iraq document dump. I first became aware of Burns during the sectarian civil war in Iraq, which Burns insightfully claimed was entirely caused by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. This is only my personal opinion, and therefore not libelous, but I believe that John Burns is the very paradigm of an idiot. -- C

Afghanistan Update

This is apparently not related to conflict or politics, but it seems to be dominating the news from Afghanistan today so I can't ignore it. 65 people reported killed by a roof collapse at a wedding party in Baghlan Province. The main significance is that this demonstrates the prevailing poverty in Afghanistan and poor quality construction.

WaPo's Greg Miller reports that the Taliban are pretty much unscathed by the war. Yeah, they kill some senior leadership but there are plenty of young, and more determined fighters to take their places. Excerpt:

An intense military campaign aimed at crippling the Taliban has so far failed to inflict more than fleeting setbacks on the insurgency or put meaningful pressure on its leaders to seek peace, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials citing the latest assessments of the war in Afghanistan.

Escalated airstrikes and special operations raids have disrupted Taliban movements and damaged local cells. But officials said that insurgents have been adept at absorbing the blows and that they appear confident that they can outlast an American troop buildup set to subside beginning next July.

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