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 28, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, October 28, 2012

Condemnation from around the world for the Eid al-Adha attack on a mosque in Maimana, Faryab, which killed 40 people and injured 50. "Meanwhile, the Afghan political parties joined in condemning the attack, saying it went against Islam and natural human law, but also put some blame on the country's intelligence department." No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Investigation into the deaths of 2 British troops on Wednesday, along with an Afghan man in civilian clothing, has yet to determine what happened. The incident was apparently not "friendly" fire, but it is unclear who shot the people.

Four individuals planting mines in Kandarhar province reportedly killed by coalition forces.

President Karzai offers remarks following Friday prayers on Eid-al-Adha, calling on the Taliban to stop pursuing "the objectives of foreigners" and live in peace and dignity.

Robert Burns sees the Afghan war entering a new phase of stalemate. Excerpt:

U.S. commanders say with confidence that their war campaign is on track, and President Barack Obama seemed to agree in his debate last Monday with Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
"There's no reason why Americans should die when Afghans are perfectly capable of defending their own country," Obama said.
Yet the path forward is dotted with question marks:
-Will Afghanistan's security forces be capable of holding off the Taliban on their own? Afghan forces outnumber the Taliban by more than 10-to-1, but currently not a single Afghan army battalion is capable of operating in the field without American advisers.
-If the Afghan forces falter, will the U.S. extend its stay or send in reinforcements to avoid a Taliban takeover?
-Will the U.S.-led military coalition hold together even as France and others dash for the exits in coming months?
-Will enough Afghans come to embrace the corrupt government in Kabul as a preferred alternative to the militant Taliban?
-Will the Afghans manage a peaceful transfer of power after a presidential election scheduled for 2014, in which President Hamid Karzai cannot run again? The independent International Crisis Group warned this month of a "precipitous slide toward state collapse" unless steps are taken soon to prevent a repeat of the "chaos and chicanery" of the 2009 presidential election and the 2010 parliamentary vote.

Two U.S. soldiers recently killed in action are identified. 31-year-old Staff Sgt. Kashif M. Memon of Houston, Texas, and 22-year-old Sgt. Clinton K. Ruiz of Murrieta, Calif were killed in a firefight in Uruzgan on Oct. 25.

Pakistani politician Imran Khan is detained and questioned by U.S. officials on his way to New York. Khan is an opponent of the U.S. campaign of airstrikes by unmanned aerial vehicles. He is eventually released and allowed to visit the United States.