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 8, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, July 8, 2012

Series of bombings in southern Kandahar province kills 18. Provincial police chief General Abdul Raziq tells AFP a bomb struck a minivan with about 20 passengers. When a tractor arrived to pick up the injured, a second bomb exploded. In all, 14 people died in this incident, with 9 wounded. Another attack a few hours later killed 4 people.

A NATO service member is killed by a bomb in souther Afghanistan. As usual, no further information at this time.

A second NATO soldier is killed on Sunday. Again, no further information as yet.

Five police are killed when their vehicle hits a bomb as they respond to a Taliban attack on a police checkpoint in Musa Qala, Helmand province. Three police are injured in the battle at the checkpoint. Bodies of twenty insurgents are said to have been recovered.

Pledges of $16 billion over the next 4 years raised  for Afghanistan at an international donors' conference in Tokyo. $4 billion a year is actually a decline from the current level of about $5 billion. The pledges come with mechanisms intended to assure accountability. According to the world bank, international aid is equal to Afghanistan's entire GDP.

Before a cheering crowd, Taliban execute a woman accused of adultery in Parwan province. "When the unnamed woman, most of her body tightly wrapped in a shawl, fell sideways after being shot several times in the head, the spectators chanted: “Long live the Afghan mujahideen". The incident occurred about 1 hour's drive from Kabul.

Afghanistan is now the world's 6th leading exporter of raisins. Nevertheless the current output, 24,000 tons, is little more than a tenth what it was before the civil war began.

A couple of afternoon updates:  Yet another rocket barrage into Kunar province from Pakistan kills a child, also kills livestock and destroys houses.

ISAF announces six service members killed in a bomb attack. As usual, no further information as of now.