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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, January 30, 2011

Reported Security Incidents


Gunmen using silenced weapons kill an Interior Ministry officer in Mansour. In a similar attack, a police officer is killed in Uteifiya on Saturday night.

Baghdad Operations Command says it has discovered 63 rockets in the past 24 hours.

Other News of the Day

Claiming inspiration from the uprising in Egypt, Kurdistan's opposition Gorran Party calls for the Kurdistan government to resign. The two parties which have long divided power in Kurdistan -- Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party -- rebuffed the statement.

Iraq offers to evacuate any of its citizens who care to leave Egypt. AP notes, "Sunday's offer is a role reversal since many of the Iraqis living in Egypt fled their homeland because of rampant violence, with near-daily attacks still continuing."

AP's Bushra Juhi and Kim Gamel discuss Iraqis' view of the uprising in Egypt. They look at scenes of looting with foreboding but also admire people for rising up against corruption, unemployment, and undemocratic rule. Hmm.

U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction Stewart Bowen expresses reservations about the readiness of Iraqi security forces as the U.S. prepares for final departure. "Though advances continue to be made, corruption, lack of capacity to handle logistics and an absence of realistic planning threaten to undermine the security infrastructure and equipment introduced into Iraq by U.S.-led forces. . ."

Afghanistan Update

Suicide bomber on a motorcycle kills the deputy governor of Kandahar province, Abdul Latif Ashna and injures three of his bodyguards.

Gunmen in southwest Pakistan attack three trucks recently returned from delivering supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Department of Hmmm, okay: Afghanistan will sign an agreement with the UN to end recruitment of children as police, and end the practice of child sex slavery by military commanders. This apparently represents the first official acknowledgment that keeping boys as sex slaves is a problem in Afghanistan. It turns out to be a long-standing tradition. (We have noted it here before, but it gets almost no attention from the U.S. corporate media. Obviously it is not consistent with the mythology of our noble Afghan allies.)