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, August 26, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, August 26, 2012

ISAF says it has killed several insurgents in an airstrike in Kunar province on Saturday.

It is not entirely clear, but in what appears to be a separate attack, NATO says, and the Taliban confirm, that an airstrike on Friday in Kunar killed Mullah Dadullah, a commander of the Pakistani Taliban, along with 12 others.

A Taliban commander said to be responsible for a rocket attack on a NATO base in Kandahar is arrested near Spinboldak.

Mawlawi Ghulaam Rasoul, head of Hajj and Pilgrimage for eastern Logar province, is killed in a drive-by shooting in the Wagh Jan market bazaar of the Mohammad Agha district. (This is a bit mysterious as the victim is a religious official. Stories about this have a puzzled tone. No-one has claimed responsibility. - C)

Afghan TV actress Sahar Parniyan has fled Kabul to an undisclosed location following death threats. One of her co-stars, known as Benafsha, was recently murdered. The perpetrators are unknown, but one of her shows, “Wezarat Khana” or the Ministry, depicts corruption and incompetence in government.

Afghan ministries announce the typical numbers for government and Taliban casualties: 3 ANA soldiers killed and 6 injured; 33 Taliban killed in the past 24 hours. (It seems that 27 to 33 Taliban are killed every day, along with 2 or 3 ANA. It would be easier just to xerox these announcements, I think.) 

PakTribune reports several incidents in Afghanistan  which seem not to have been reported elsewhere. These include a claim by the Taliban to have killed 1 police officer and wounded 7 in an attack in Sar-e-Pul province; a government spokesmen says that in fact, 1 civilian was killed and 4 of the attackers injured. Also:

  • A rocket hit a house in Gereskh district, killing a girl and wounding six others occupants
  • A civilian was killed in a landmine explosion in Marjah district of Helmand province
  • A motorcar hit a landmine in Sistani area of Marjah district this morning, leaving a civilian dead, said a press release issued by Helmand governor’s press office.
  • In another development, it said, a rocket fired by anti-government gunmen struck a house in Haidarabad area of Gereshk district last night, killing a girl and wounding six other members of a family, it said.
  • Elsewhere, security forces arrested seven gunmen in Nahr-e-Siraj, Marjah.
Afghan troops don't like the equipment they are given by the U.S., consider U.S. troops to be disrespectful. They prefer the AK-47 to the M-16, which they cannot believe is a modern rifle. It jams all the time. They are otherwise given inferior equipment to what U.S. troops have, for example no night vision goggles and boots that fall apart. More:

[Says Aga,] When foreign forces patrol with Afghan forces, "they don't respect us. When we see that they don't have respect we get angry. Even myself, I have seen how they behave in Afghanistan. They have sometimes been cruel. I saw in operations they have entered mosques, I have seen this myself."
Another complaint: The foreigners don't let civilians drive in front of their convoys even if they are rushing a sick person to treatment, referring to the heavy security measures U.S. troops impose around their vehicles. . . .

In May last year, a U.S. Army team led by a behavioral scientist released a 70-page survey that revealed both Afghan and American soldiers hold disturbingly negative perceptions of the other.
According to the survey, many Afghan security personnel found U.S. troops "extremely arrogant, bullying and unwilling to listen to their advice" and sometimes lacking concern about Afghans' safety in combat. They accused the Americans of ignoring female privacy and using denigrating names for Afghans. U.S. troops, in turn, often accused Afghan troops and police of "pervasive illicit drug use, massive thievery, personal instability, dishonesty, no integrity," the survey said.


whisker said...

Nato closes over 200 bases in Afghanistan -- The international military coalition in Afghanistan says it has closed 202 bases as part of its drawdown in troops, and has transferred more than that number to the Afghan government.