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, September 4, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, September 4, 2011

Reported Security Incidents

Haj Omran, Kurdistan

A bullet fired from Iran kills a shepherd near the border. Iran has been shelling the area recently to repress the Kurdish irredentist movement PJAK. (It is not clear why this individual was targeted but Iranian state TV has announced a ground offensive against PJAK -- C


Gunmen kill a border guard and injure his brother in a home invasion.

Police find the body of 2 of 14 prisoners who escaped from Tasfrirat Prison on Thursday, leaving 8 of the escapees unaccounted for. (Unfortunately I can't find any more information to add to this cryptic report. -- C)

Miqdadaiya township, near Baquba

Bomb attack on the home of an al-Iraqiya MP injures a bodyguard and severely damages the house, but MP Abdullah al-Jibouri is uninjured. This is the third attempt on his life since 2003.


Armed attack on a police patrol seriously injures a lieutenant.

Other News of the Day

Parliament's Security & Defense committee will investigate the death of 10 members of a family in Balad in 2006 at the hands of U.S. forces. This issue has been revived with the publication of a cable from the WikiLeaks trove describing the findings of the UN Rapporteur that the family members, including 5 children, had been bound and shot in the head.

Afghanistan Update

One Danish soldier killed, 4 injured in an explosion in Helmand Province on Saturday. There are currently 750 Danish soldiers in the country. Denmark plans a gradual reduction in their numbers.

Taliban free four Turkish engineers kidnapped 8 months ago in Paktia, apparently as a gesture of good will on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.

The Afghan Interior Ministry says that "Afghan forces backed by Nato-led troops" [uh-huh] have killed 21 militants and arrested 11 in various operations in the past 24 hours.

At least 1 in 7 Afghan soldiers deserted in the first 6 months of 2011.

Security forces block 9 dismissed lawmakers from parliament as their replacements take the oath of office. The 9 were removed by a special commission set up by Hamid Karzai after the Independent Electoral Commission had already certified the vote.

Gunmen kill an auxiliary police commander in Lashkar Gah.

NATO says its forces have killed Sabar Lal Melma, a former Guantanamo detainee who they said was organizing attacks in Kunar province. Commandos surrounded his house and shot him when he emerged, according to NATO. According to a bodyguard, they scaled the walls and shot him inside the house. (I have no idea why these stories would differ or how it matters one way or the other. -- C