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, September 28, 2011

News of the Day for Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Whisker is otherwise occupied today so I'm filling in. -- C

Reported Security Incidents


Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms kill 5 members of a Sahwa militia member's family, and injure 7, in a home invasion in Abu Ghraib. Dead are the man's wife, two sons, a daughter, and another relative. Oddly, however, in what appears to be a description of the same incident, Aswat al-Iraq puts the location in a village near Falluja. This must be the same incident because the casualty toll and other details are identical. There are often conflicting details of these incidents, but this is rather puzzling. -- C

Car bomb near a restaurant in the Shiite neighborhood of Jisr Diyala kills 3.

A police officer is injured and a civilian killed in a drive-by shooting in Daura late Tuesday.

Two explosions in Uteifiya injure 5 people, also late Tuesday.

Car bomb near a liquor store injures 8 people, late Tuesday.

Taza-Khurmatu, near Kirkuk

Two men are killed by a joint U.S.-Iraqi force while trying to plant an explosive. And I'll bet you thought the U.S. was no longer engaged in combat operations. They are, in the Kirkuk area, because of concerns about the unity of Iraqi forces in the area disputed between Arabs and Kurds. -- C

Other News of the Day

At a conference in Turkey, the head of the Iraqi Parliament's energy committee, Adnan Janabi, casts doubt on previously announced targets for petroleum extraction of 12 million BBD. Iraq has scheduled another round of exploration rights auctions for January.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says he thinks there will be an agreement for thousands of U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after the end of this year, as "trainers." I guess we won't be shutting down this blog after all. -- C

Iraq will buy 18 F-16s. First we destroy their air force, then we sell them a new one. Good business plan!

Afghanistan Update

Taliban kill 8 police in an attack in Lashkar Gah, Helmand Province, and injure 3. Apparently one of their number was a Taliban double agent, who fled with the attackers. AP also reports a New Zealand special forces soldier was killed during a gun battle with suspected insurgents in a compound near Kabul.

AFP also reports a district police chief killed and 3 of his bodyguards are injured by a roadside bomb in Uruzgan.

NATO says joint Afghan and NATO operation destroys $350 million worth of heroin and opium in Helmand province, along with three drug labs. (These prices are always dubious. I expect that's an estimated retail price, not what the drugs would fetch the Afghan wholesalers. -- C)