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, December 9, 2012

News of the Day for Sunday, December 9, 2012

U.S. forces rescue Dr. Dilip Joseph, an American who was kidnapped in Surobi, Kabul province on December 5. They kill 7 of his Taliban captors in the action. He was being held in nearby Laghman province. Further details of the operation will be announced later today.

Two civilians are killed and 2 injured by a roadside bomb in Ghorak, Kandahar province.

Members of a nomadic tribe clash with police in Kabul. Despite gunfire, there are no reports of injuries. This apparently has to do with their attempting to build houses.

A Pakistani government spokesmen rejects Hamid Karzai's accusation that the assassination attempt against Afghan spy chief Asadullah Khalid on Thursday was planned in Quetta. Khalid survived with serious injuries to his lower extremities when a suicide bomber infiltrated the National Directorate of Security in Kabul.

The Governor of Kapisa province denies reports that a polio eradication worker was assassinated last week, saying the woman was killed accidentally in a crossfire. He also disputes her reported age and says she was not working on the polio campaign.

Khaama's Ahmad Masoud reports that thousands of Afghans are injured by low quality gas cylinders and cookers every year, and that hundreds die. "Afghanistan imports gas cylinders from neighbouring countries and there are various brands of imported and domestically-made pressure cookers available in markets. Most people cannot afford to buy high-quality pressure cookers or gas cylinders; therefore, they go for the cheaper ones. There have been reports that petrol mixed with diesel has been sold as kerosene which is widely used in kerosene lamp and stoves. It is often the cause of fire."

Protesters attack the Iranian consulate in Herat, in the continued dispute over the execution of 13 Afghan teenagers in Iran. The Iranians say they were drug smugglers, but their relatives say they were merely looking for work.

Turkish president Abdullah Gul will host a summit between Hamid Karzai and Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday and Wednesday, in an attempt to reduce simmering tensions between the two countries. In particular, Karzai has long accused Pakistan of harboring militants who carry out attacks in Afghanistan. (He makes that accusation because it is true.)