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, April 1, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, April 1, 2012

Roadside bomb kills two local council members and a policeman in Uruzgan late Saturday.

Police officer Tor Jan, leader of a post in Uruzgan, is killed by a an IED in Tirin Kot, Uruzgan, after surviving 16 previous attacks. Note: This does not appear to be the same incident as the above as the story does not mention any other casualties and the date is given as Sunday rather than late Saturday.

This is not a case of political violence per se, but I link to it because it's one more reminder of the status of women in Afghanistan. At least the U.S. backed government does make some effort to prosecute these cases. -- C Kabul police seek a young man who murdered a girl who rejected his wedding proposal and injured two of her sisters in a knife attack.

And, while we're on the subject, A 12 year old girl and a 15 year old boy have been killed in an acid attack because of their friendship. "The bodies were discovered on Friday in wasteland in the Esfandi area of Ghazni province in south central Afghanistan, provincial police chief Zorawar Zahid told AFP." Their faces and bodies were burned by acid. "The attack is the latest incident to highlight the dangers still faced by many young men and women in Afghanistan 10 years after a US-led invasion ousted the Taliban, notorious for their oppressive policies against women and conservative attitude towards relationships."

Interior Ministry says 11 Taliban killed in a "countrywide operation."

A regional Taliban commander tells al Jazeera that Afghan security forces are now the priority target, over foreign forces.

Shukrullah Durani , Chief of Spinghar District, Nangarhar province escapes injury when his vehicle is attacked by a roadside bomb, but three soldiers in his entourage are injured.

Foreign Ministery Zalmai Rasoul to visit Qatar, apparently to do groundwork for discussions with the proposed Taliban liaison office in that country.

Iraq Update

Speaking of Qatar, fugitive Iraqi VP Tareq al-Hashemi has departed Kurdistan for that country, for unstated reasons. Whether this represents a new place of asylum for him or merely an opportunity for discussions is unclear. But . . .

PM al-Maliki says that the Syrian regime will not fall and criticizes Qatar and Saudi Arabia for calling for arming the opposition. I don't want to read too much into what are murky affairs, but seeing Iraq's fugitive Sunni VP heading for Qatar even as tensions rise between Iraq, and Sunni led Arab regimes over the future of Syria at least suggests a growing sectarian divide in the region. Stay tuned. -- C