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, September 9, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, September 9, 2012

ISAF service member killed in an explosion  in southern Afghanistan. As usual, no further details given as of now.

Three explosions near the governor's compound in western Farah province  kill one person and injure 12. All of the casualties are apparently civilians.

A remote control mine in Kajaki, Helmand province, kills 5 Afghan soldiers and injures 2, one critically.

A Haaqqani commander says captive U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl will not be harmed, despite the U.S. declaration that the Haqqani network is a terrorist organization. However, he threatens stepped up attacks. "We are not cowards, and we consider it as coward to harm prisoners," he said. But, "Sirajuddin Haqqani, the organization's military commander, is seeking permission from Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar to stage a blitzkrieg of attacks against U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the commander said."

Six Taliban are reported killed in an Afghan army operation in Herat. Their commander, Mullah Nooruddin, is said to have been injured but escaped.

British soldier who died Friday of wounds suffered in August is identified as Guardsman Karl Whittle of The Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

Two people killed and 15 injured in a battle between armed groups  in west Kabul on Saturday. "The chief of the Kabul police criminal investigation unit Mohammad Zahir told TOLOnews that police were working on identifying the groups to arrest them." (This is an odd story -- it seems not to be linked to insurgency but to political rivalry, but it isn't specified.)

Did you know that Afghanistan has oil? I didn't. Not a whole lot but "According to Afghan mines ministry officials the five locations in Sar-e-Pul and Jowzjan proivnces of Afghanistan, on which the extraction work has already started contains around 87 million barrels of fuel which is around 20% of the fuel deposits in Amu River basin." A Chinese company has the concession.

Guess what? They also have copper, also being mined by a Chinese company. Militant attacks have forced some of the Chinese mine workers to flee the country. However, "Ahmad Tamim Asi chief of the public relations in the ministry of mines of Afghanistan said the extraction process in Aynak copper mine has not been affected after Chinese workers left Afghanistan and the Afghan government has taken necessary security precautions in this regard."

Remember Iraq?  Not a good situation. At least 58 people killed in explosions around the country, including a car bombing outside the French consulate in Nassiriya that killed 1 guard and injured 5, and two car bombings near a Shiite shrine in Amara that killed 16 people. Reuters also reports:

  • Overnight in Dujail, 50 km (30 miles) north of Baghdad, gunmen and a suicide bomber driving a car attacked a military base, killing 11 soldiers and injuring seven, police said.
  • Later on Sunday, a car bomb killed eight people queuing for jobs as police guards for the Iraqi North Oil Company in the flashpoint city of Kirkuk, 250 km north of Baghdad, police said.
  • Kirkuk was hit by several other blasts. A car bomb and a bomb packed into a motorcycle detonated outside a crime investigation office, killing seven and wounding 40.
  • More people were killed in several other blasts across the country, including in the towns of Baquba, Samarra, Basra and Tuz Khurmato.
And a judge has sentenced fugitive Sunni VP Tareq Hashemi to death, along with his son and secretary. Hashemi, who is in Doha, says the charges are a politically motivated witch hunt.