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 22, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, April 22, 2012

Former British military chaplain reveals e-mails from troops revealing despair over the futility of the Afghan conflict. The Daily Mail publishes some of them. Excerpt:

The correspondence includes two emails sent by a major on the brink of a fresh deployment to the region. He likens the prospect to ‘being put on for the last two minutes of a lost game’ of rugby. . . .The emails follow the news that Sapper Connor Ray from 33 Engineer Regiment became the 409th British military fatality since the conflict began in 2001 when he died on Wednesday from injuries sustained in an explosion in Helmand.Polls have shown that a majority of British people are confused about the purpose of our mission and want the troops to be pulled out immediately. Barely one in ten think the conflict is winnable.

Report finds increasing use of opiates by U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Eight died of overdoses and 56 were investigated for use or distribution in 2010-2011.

Afghanistan's carpet industry is devastated by competition from Iranian machine-made products.

Tons of explosives recently seized in Kabul came from Pakistan, according to National Director for Security spokesman Shafiqullah Tahiry. He says the plotters, three of whom were Pakistani nationals, were acting on orders from militants with ties to Pakistan's Directorate of Interservices Intelligence.

Afghan political analyst says Karzai must confront Pakistan over its support for Afghan insurgents. Khalil Nouri writes, "Pakistan must be held liable for directing and coordinating these attacks. Mr. Karzai needs to tell his Pakistani friends to stop their attacks or he needs to step down for being an ineffective and weak leader."

Floods devastate communities in Baghlan and Nangarhar, many people are killed.

TOLO reports U.S.-Afghan strategic partnership agreement has been finalized, will be signed at upcoming NATO summit.