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, October 2, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, October 2, 2011

Reported Security Incidents

Al-Nibaie, north of Baghdad

Four Sahwa militia members and two civilians are killed in a double bombing. The first bomb struck a car, killing two Sahwa members. When two others rushed to the scene, their car was also struck, killing them and two bystanders.

Mosul

An Iraqi army doctor is killed by a sticky bomb on Saturday.

Baghdad

Three civilians injured by a bomb on the highway through Hay al-Adel on Saturday.

Other News of the Day

DoD identifies Georgia soldier killed on Friday by insurgent indirect fire near Kirkuk. 23-year-old Spc. Adrian G. Mills of Newnan, Ga., was assigned to the 272nd Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

Sadrist movement calls for demonstrations today to call for the rapid departure of U.S. troops. There have been intimations from top U.S. military officers that some troops should remain after the Dec. 31 deadline for withdrawal, and the response from Prime Minister Awlaki's office has no always been unequivocal.

Afghanistan Update

Nine Afghan soldiers are killed and four injured by a roadside bomb in Gardez, Paktia Province.

Hundreds demonstrate in Kabul against Pakistan's shelling of the border region in Kunar and Nuristan, and alleged involvement in the murder of Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Pakistan PM Raza Gilani says Hamid Karzai has "some misconceptions" regarding the assassination of Rabbani. However, it appears he does not specify what these are.

However, a statement from Karzai's office says that an investigation has concluded that the perpetrator was a Pakistani from Quetta. And, Afghan Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi tells Parliament that the attack was plotted on Pakistani soil, and that the Pakistani directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence was involved. Separately, Rahmatullah Nabeel, acting chief of Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security (NDS), said that an individual involved in the plot, named Hameedullah Akhondzada, has confessed. A spokesman for NDS says "A confession from those we detained in regard to Rabbani's assassination shows a direct involvement of the Quetta Shura," referring to the Afghan Taliban governing council which is harbored in that city.

WaPo's Ernesto Londono reports that only 10% of the funds looted from Kabul Bank have been recovered. Failure to resolve the situation will be catastrophic for Afghanistan because many international donors have suspended payments to the country. So far, there have been no indictments, although two individuals have been detained. Most of the assets appear to be abroad and will be difficult to recover.

By the Way story: Remember Raymond Davis, the CIA operative who killed two people in Pakistan who he claimed were trying to rob him? After several weeks, the Pakistanis released him in exchange for "blood money" payments to the dead men's relatives. This incident set off a downward spiral in U.S.-Pakistani relations. "Deputies responding to an altercation between two men outside an Einstein Bagel in Highlands Ranch, south of Denver, took Raymond Davis into custody Saturday morning, said Sheriff's Lt. Glenn Peitzmeier. He was charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors." Evidently this was a fight over a parking space. Have a bit of a short fuse, do you Mr. Davis? Hmmm.

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