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

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

News of the Day for Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Man in Afghan police uniform kills 3 ISAF troops in Southern Afghanistan on Monday. The shooter is now identified as Ziarahman, who had been in the Afghan police for nine months, and the dead as members of the Welsh Guard. The shooter is in custody.

Gunmen torch a girls' school in Herat.

Car bomb attack near Kandahar university kills 7, injures 23.

Three killed in an explosion in Kabul which appears to be accidental. Twenty-eight are injured, 5 critically. The incident is attributed to a gas leak but sabotage has not been ruled out.

An Australian special forces soldier is killed by gunfire in Uruzgan.

Tensions are rising between Afghanistan and Pakistan over border incidents.

Afghan lawmakers visiting California say Afghanistan is not ready for self-government and that they are concerned about a premature exit of international forces. Excerpt:

[Parliamentarian Baktash] Siawash said Monday that too much power is concentrated in the hands of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and 21 powerful families. "Our president's ignoring the lawmakers who represent the people who don't have water, roads or clinics," Siawash said.
Billions of dollars in U.S. aid are winding up in the hands of corrupt officials in government and the nonprofit sector, Siawash said. "I told Sen. McCain, 'You're wasting your time and your money. Why don't you hold the Afghan government accountable and put an end to the corruption?' "

A report by an international human rights group finds violence against women in Afghanistan is endemic. "Attacks on women are mounting. Those that ActionAid works with tell us they leave their homes every morning not knowing if they will return alive in the evening."

An ethnographic atlas published by the Afghan Academy of Science insults the Hazara minority. "The resulting outcry from Hazara politicians was enough to prompt President Hamid Karzai to step in. In mid-June, Karzai banned the atlas, dismissed four academics from the Academy of Sciences, and ordered an investigation into their reasons for publishing the comments. The four now face possible criminal charges for stoking ethnic tensions, pending the findings of a lengthy questionnaire they have been asked to fill out."

ExxonMobil has told Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines it is interested in bidding on the right to explore for oil and gas in the country.  (Good luck with that. -- C)

Human Rights Watch sees media freedom in Afghanistan threatened by a draft law aimed at placating Muslim conservatives.

Hoping Whisker will be back on-line soon. -- C

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