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, February 1, 2012

War News for Wednesday, February 01, 2012

The Georgian Paradox

FACTBOX-Security developments in Iraq, February 1

Another Afghan soldier kills NATO service member - Afghan National Army commander Sayed Malluk confirmed the shooting, which he said happened during a night patrol in Helmand province's Marjah district. But he said the Afghan soldier, who has been in the army for more than two years, told investigators the shooting was an accident.

Reported security incidents
#1: Gunmen attacked a paramilitary checkpoint in southwestern Pakistan, killing 11 soldiers and increasing tension in an area where a separatist insurgency has raged for decades, the military said Wednesday. Twelve soldiers were also wounded in the attack Tuesday night in the Marwarh area of Baluchistan province, said the paramilitary Frontier Corps. The troops returned fire, but officials did not indicate whether the attackers suffered any casualties. A local government official, Fateh Bangalzai, said soldiers discovered the bodies of seven unarmed men near the checkpoint Wednesday morning. Authorities were investigating whether the men were part of the attacking group or civilians caught in the crossfire, said Bangalzai.

#2: Pakistani fighter jets bombed the hideouts of two militant commanders along the Afghan border Wednesday, killing up to 31 insurgents, government and security officials said. One of those killed was reported to be a Pakistani Taliban leader in Orakzai region named Moin ud Din, said one security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. It was not possible to independently confirm the information because the border region is effectively off-limits to reporters. Militants have in the past disputed army accounts of casualties, and human rights groups say civilians often die in military actions. There were air strikes in the bordering regions of Kurram and Orakzai, said government officials Wajid Khan and Ameer Gul. The attacks followed clashes between soldiers and militants over a strategic mountaintop in Kurram that killed over 60 people in the last week.

#3: Joint Afghan and coalition security forces killed three armed insurgents during operations in several provinces in the past 24 hours, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

#4: At least 13 people were killed when a U.S. drone launched three missile strikes in Orakzai region of Pakistan's northwest tribal belt on Wednesday, local media reported. According to the report by local TV channel Geo, the attack was launched in wee hours in the morning when a U.S. drone fired three missiles at a militants'hideout in Darand Shekhan area of upper Orakzai agency, a militancy-hit tribal area where Pakistan army has been battling local and foreign Taliban militants for the past four months. The report said that six foreigners were also among the killed militants and the dead bodies have been shifted to other areas of Orakzai after the drone attack