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

Saturday, February 18, 2012

War News for Saturday, February 18, 2012

Reported security incidents
#1: update The death toll from a suicide motorbike bomb attack in a largely Shiite Muslim area of northwest Pakistan has risen to 31, according to officials. "The death toll rose to 31 after five more people died overnight," top regional administrator Sahibzada Mohammad Anees told AFP. "We still have 35 wounded people, who had been admitted to different hospitals in Parachinar and Peshawar for treatment," he said. A senior local administration official in Parachinar, Shahab Ali Shah, confirmed the new toll. The bomb exploded near a mosque as the main Friday prayers took place in Parachinar, a flashpoint for sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shiite Muslims in Pakistan's tribal badlands on the Afghan border.

#2: Militants ambushed a Pakistani paramilitary convoy in the Dera Bugti area of southwestern Baluchistan province, killing two soldiers and wounding nine others, security officials said.

#3: A homemade bomb exploded in the Tirah area of the northwestern Khyber tribal region, near the Afghanistan border, killing three Pakistani soldiers, intelligence officials said.

#4: Three insurgent were killed and eight other suspects detained during joint operations launched by the Afghan forces and NATO-led troops in four Afghan provinces, the country's Interior Ministry said on Saturday. "Afghan National Police, Afghan army and International Coalition Forces launched four joint operations in Kunar, Nangarhar, Kandahar and Helmand provinces over the past 24 hours killing three armed insurgents and detaining eight others," the ministry said in a statement.