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, October 14, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, October 14, 2012

Five British marines have been charged with murder in connection with an incident in Afghanistan in 2011. The Ministry of Defense has released little specific information about the matter. The BBC reports that the charges originated from video footage found on the computer of a marine by civilian police in the UK. MoD says the incident concerned a combatant and that no civilians were involved.

Two NATO service members and a foreign civilian working with ISAF are killed in separate explosions on Saturday. As usual, details are scarce at this time. However, it appears one of these attacks was at southern Kandahar province's National Directorate of Security (NDS) headquarters, and also killed 3 NDS staff.

This is breaking news and the only source as of 8:00 am ET is RIA, but it is reported that the Taliban claim to have killed 8 bodyguards of Vice President Mohammad Karim Khalili in Parwan province. There are conflicting reports, but it appears Khalili was not present.

ISAF says a join Afghan-coalition force killed Haqqani leader Rahmatullah in Logar province on Saturday. They also announce the arrest of a Haqqani leader in Ghazni.

Sabera Turkmani of the Afghan Midwives Association reports on widespread childhood malnutrition in Afghanistan. She says that 55% of Afghan children are stunted by undernourishment.

Germany will reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan from 4,900 to fewer than 4,000 next year.

Britain will reduce its forces from 9,000 to an unspecified number, but "thousands fewer." There are about 9,500 now but 500 will come home by the end of the year.

President Karzai writes to Pakistani political and religious leaders calling on them to fight terrorism  in response to the shooting of  Malala Yousafzai, a schoolgirl who advocated for female education. (I assume our readers know about this outrage but the latest news about her condition is here. It takes religion to make a man try to murder a 14 year old girl.)

Afghan police burn 24 tons of illegal drugs and paraphernalia. Note, however, that about 1/3 of the material was alcohol, along with an unstated quantity of raisins which can be used to make alcohol. (Now that's just weird. Why not feed them to some of those starving children instead? -- C)