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, July 22, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, July 22, 2012

Two NATO soldiers killed in an explosion today; a third died yesterday in a "rebel attack."  As usual, no further information at this time.

Taliban execute 5 civilians in Jalrez, Wardak province, who they captured while returning from work at a NATO base. The bodies were found booby trapped. A sixth man escaped.

An Afghan couple flees to Pakistan, fearing the bride will be killed for marrying a man of her own choice. However, the Pakistani courts have yet to decide whether to grant the asylum or return them to the jirga of her relatives, who will likely murder her.

Pakistan plans to cancel refugee status for 3 million Afghans, who will face deportation at the end of this year. Excerpt:

Pushing the refugees into Afghanistan would be likely to create a new crisis for that country, already struggling with an insurgency and an economy almost entirely dependent on the western presence and the illegal drug trade. The west is pressing Pakistan to reconsider its policy, which puts it at odds with the United Nations and other international partners. The international community and the Afghan government have no strategy prepared to deal with any such influx of people.

However, Pakistan's top administrator in-charge of the Afghan refugee issue, Habibullah Khan, the States and Frontier Regions Ministry secretary, told the Guardian that Islamabad would not relent. "The international community desires us to review this policy but we are clear on this point. The refugees have become a threat to law and order, security, demography, economy and local culture. Enough is enough," he said.

Afghan security forces capture 6 insurgents in Kandahar province. Three of them are Pakistani nationals.

World Bank grants Afghanistan $125 million to improve rural roads. (Yeah, $125 million used to be a lot of money but that won't go very far at all. See the excerpt below and think about it for a second. And remember they'll have to spend more on security than they do on actual road building. -- C ) Excerpt:

Today, Afghanistan’s tertiary road network is estimated at 80,000 km, of which only about 7,000 km are accessible to motor vehicles in all seasons; the rest are tracks mostly inaccessible to motor vehicles. Among the roads that remain accessible to motor vehicles all year, an estimated 5,000 km are believed to be in maintainable state, while the rest are in poor condition and need rehabilitation.
Shelling of Afghan territory from Pakistan continues, Afghan officials continue to complain.


dancewater said...

Iraq bomb kills at least 25 people

Bombs in Shiite areas of Iraq claimed the lives of 25 people Sunday, the second day of the Muslim holy month Ramadan. An Iraqi soldier and a policeman also died in separate incidents.

The violence started in the morning, when a car bomb exploded outside a popular restaurant in the central city of Najaf, about 100 miles south of Baghdad, an official with Iraq's Interior Ministry said. Five people were killed and 14 others were wounded.

Just before sunset, when Muslims break their daily Ramadan fast, three roadside bombs exploded within a few minutes of each other at the crowded al-Tameem market in a predominantly Shiite area in Baghdad's southern outskirts, police officials in the capital said. Fifteen people were killed and 60 others wounded, police said.

Later in the evening, five people were killed and 25 wounded when a car bomb exploded in another market, this time in Mahmoudiya, a predominantly Shiite area about 19 miles south of the capital, police in Baghdad said.

Separately, a sniper killed an Iraqi soldier in Falluja on Sunday afternoon as he stood near his patrol, local police officials said. Falluja is in Anbar province, just west of Baghdad.

A car bomb exploded near a police patrol in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in the evening, killing a policeman and wounding 16 others, including three officers, a police official in the city said. The city is predominantly Sunni.