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, February 12, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, February 12, 2012

Four Tajik civilians working for a NATO logistics contractor die in a helicopter crash in Zabul Province. Cause of the crash is not yet known.

And indeed, the NYT reports today that Even dying is being outsourced in Afghanistan. DoD contractors are under no obligation to report their casualties, and don't necessarily compensate the families either. Excerpt:

This is a war where traditional military jobs, from mess hall cooks to base guards and convoy drivers, have increasingly been shifted to the private sector. Many American generals and diplomats have private contractors for their personal bodyguards. And along with the risks have come the consequences: More civilian contractors working for American companies than American soldiers died in Afghanistan last year for the first time during the war.

Qazi Abdul Basir, the head of the appeals court for Kunar province, is killed in a home invasion while visiting family in Nangarhar province. His wife and five children were injured in the attack. DPA's account is somewhat different, saying his son was also killed while two women and three children were injured, and that the attack was a drive-by shooting by motorcyclists. AP says yes, it was a home invasion, but his niece was also killed. Whatever. They all agree he's dead.

Pakistanis say Afghan forces raided a home well inside Pakistan, and abducted and killed 2 suspected Taliban. They were staying at the home of a tribal elder. Some people say a third person was also killed.

And, right on cue, Pakistani PM Yousuf Raza Gilani says Pakistan is not supporting the Afghan Taliban. (To be fair, Balochistan, where the above incident took place, is not under control of the central government. However, it is widely believed that Pakistan tolerates the presence of Afghan Taliban in the border regions, and maintains relations with them, in hope of gaining influence in Afghanistan after a future settlement. -- C)

A UN sponsored survey finds that more than half of brick kiln workers in Afghanistan are bonded child labors, many of them younger than 14. Families essentially sell their children into servitude in order to pay for necessities, weddings and funerals.

Lest we forget, Afghanistan has known nothing but war for a long time. Activists in Bamiyan are demanding justice for a massacre that took place during civil war 19 years ago.

Iraq Update

Turkish warplanes again strike suspected PKK targets in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Adnan Al Assadi says that weapons are being smuggled from Iraq to Syrian rebels, and that career Jihadists have also gone from Iraq to Syria to join the fighting. Don't misunderstand the spin -- he's against it.

And, in other news, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri calls for Muslims to join the uprising in Syria.


dancewater said...

so, now the US and NATO have supported al Qaeda in Libya and Syria in the past year.

what could go wrong?????