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, November 27, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, November 27, 2011

Reported Security Incidents


Two men from one family are killed, another injured, in an armed attack. The dead were "an official in interior intelligence" and an engineer. They are said to have recently returned to the area after living elsewhere.


Gunmen using silenced weapons kill a civil defense major and his wife. Their daughter is injured.

This appears to be a separate description of the same incident, but it's possible there were two similar attacks. (This seems to be the pattern for today.)


A Kurdistan security officer and his wife are injured in a bomb attack on their house.

Other News of the Day

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey says the U.S. will spend more than $6 billion in Iraq next year. It will all come back, however, in the form of $8 billion in weapons sales, not counting the sale of F-16s which has not been finalized but which will be several billion more. The U.S. will also maintain the largest diplomatic presence in the world, with more than 16,000 people. (This story doesn't point it out, but while only a few hundred U.S. military will be in Iraq, as trainers associated with specific weapons sales, the 16,000 personnel includes thousands of mercenaries. -- C)

Reporter for CSM Scott Peterson contemplates the U.S. army driving across the desert to Kuwait. It seems a Col. Scott Efflandt is worried. "What we worry about is a disproportional attack that taints the overall accomplishments." Uh huh.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari says it is "not possible" to impose sanctions on Syria, although it is not clear if he is speaking solely about Iraq or whether Iraq will oppose a proposal for sanctions by the Arab League. He cites economic ties between the two countries and the numerous Iraqi refugees in Syria. Note that this issue has sectarian overtones in Iraq. Iraq's Sunni Arabs see the Syrian government, which is based in the minority Shiite Alawite sect, as oppressive. Many have family and clan ties with Syrian Sunnis who are in revolt. The Iraqi government's tilt toward the Assad regime is therefore unpopular with Iraqi Sunni Arabs. -- C)

Afghanistan Update

ISAF says one NATO is killed in combat operations in the east, another by a roadside bomb in the south. As usual no further details are given immediately.

Fallout over the NATO air strike inside Pakistan that killed 24 (or 28) Pakistani soldiers continues, as Pakistan demands that Afghanistan no longer allow NATO to launch operations against Pakistani territory from Afghanistan. As has been previously reported, Pakistan has ordered the U.S. to evacuate Shamsi air base, believed to be a base for CIA drones, and has ordered supply lines from Pakistan to Afghanistan closed. (Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, the current president of the United States does know the name of the president of U-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, because the only way to supply NATO forces in Afghanistan will now be through Uzbekistan. I point this out because bizarrely, an ad for Herman Cain appeared alongside this story. -- C)

As trucks once bound for Afghanistan back up at the border, their drivers fear attacks by militants.

Pakistan is considering boycotting an upcoming summit in Bonn in early December on the future of Afghanistan, in light of the NATO attack. As the Pakistani soldiers are buried, TV carries endless images of the funeral, accompanied by martial music. Although details of the incident are murky, The Guardian reports "The Pakistani military alleged that the attack 1.5 miles inside Pakistani territory in the early hours of Saturday was deliberate, as it was a well-known position manned by regular troops. US officials have suggested the NATO force was acting in self-defence." Either allegation would evidently mean that one side or the other committed an act of war, for unstated reasons. -- C

PTI reporter Rezaul H Laskar conveys the view from Islamabad, where Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has called Secretary Clinton to protest vehemently. She also tells Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu of Turkey that these were "unprovoked and totally unacceptable attacks by NATO/ISAF which demonstrated complete disregard for international law and human life."

In breaking news as I write, AP reports that Afghan soldiers called in the air strikes after they were attacked from across the border. I'm sure we'll be hearing a good deal more about this.


Anonymous said...

just get the hell out afghanistan moron president

Cervantes said...

Well I don't know that he's a moron but yes, he would be well advised not to have gone all in in the first place and to find a way out ASAP.