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, June 17, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, June 17, 2012

A rocket hits a home in Wazi, eastern Paktika province, killing at least 6 civilians, including children. It was apparently intended to attack a security checkpoint.

Afghan defense ministry says 3 Afghan soldiers killed,11 injured in various incidents around the country in the past 24 hours. They also announce having seized a few weapons. And I do mean an unimpressive haul. You could probably come up with a bigger arsenal by raiding the members of our local volunteer fire company. C

Heavy fighting between government forces and Taliban is reported in northern Kunduz. No reports so far on casualties.

A Taliban leader in Kandahar province is said to have been captured in a joint Afghan-NATO operation.

 In an unusual public statement, the Taliban have praised India for resisting U.S. calls to get more involved in Afghan security. They apparently see Leon Panetta's recent trip to India as part of a U.S. exit strategy, and seek to reassure India that they will not allow Afghanistan to become a base for Pakistani militants targeting India.

The attack on June 1 on a U.S. outpost near the Pakistan border was much worse than originally reported. At the time, ISAF merely reported that an attack on Forward Operating Base Salerno in Khost province had been successfully repelled, without mentioning any casualties. In fact the attack included a 1,500 pound truck bomb. It killed 2 U.S. troops and an American civilian contractor, and 5 Afghan civilians, seriously wounded three dozen U.S. troops and more lightly injured 100. It is unclear why the facts about this incident were withheld for more than two weeks.

As Canada draws down its forces in Afghanistan, it is unable to extricate military equipment due to the closure of the Pakistan border.

Thousands of tonnes of equipment including armoured vehicles, guns, ammunition and combat uniforms have already been airlifted out of the country. However, an estimated 400 containers remain stranded in secret locations throughout southern Afghanistan. . . . Thousands of tonnes of equipment including armoured vehicles, guns, ammunition and combat uniforms have already been airlifted out of the country. However, an estimated 400 containers remain stranded in secret locations throughout southern Afghanistan.

Pakistan closed NATO's main transit route from the port of Karachi in November following an air attack on the country's border that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Supply trucks have sat idle in Afghanistan since then. "It's engineering stores, it's spare parts, it's camp stores, defensive stores, things of that nature. This is equipment that we want to bring back to Canada," Brig.-Gen. John Mackay told CTV News.

Iraq Update

Since U.S. forces have left Iraq, Americans have forgotten all about the country. Come to think of it, they've pretty much forgotten about Afghanistan even though U.S. troops are still there and still getting killed. But all is not well in "liberated" Iraq.

Two police killed, 26 injured in 2 bomb attacks in Salhudin Province.

Car bombs targetting Shiite pilgrims kill 32 people in Baghdad on Saturday.

Roadside bomb kills a Turkish security contractor, injures 3 others in Kirkuk.

Oh and BTW, Why exactly did this war happen in the first place?

Rupert Murdoch pushed Tony Blair toward war in Iraq, the ex-prime minister’s former head flak has written in the final installment of his diaries, it was revealed Saturday. Alastair Campbell’s diaries are being serialized in The Guardian. Campbell recalls that only a week before the British House of Commons voted in 2003 to send troops to Iraq, Prime Minister Blair received a call from the Australian-born media mogul, who pressed him to involve the U.K.’s military resources faster. “But [Tony Blair] and I felt it was prompted by Washington, and another example of their over-crude diplomacy,” Campbell writes. “Murdoch was pushing all the Republican buttons, how the longer we waited the harder it got.”

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