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, February 10, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013

U.S. Marine General John Allen hands over command of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan to Marine General Joseph Dunford. The new commander will be responsible for an accelerated timetable for handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and removing much of the U.S. and other foreign presence. (Note: The question of how many U.S. troops and support personnel will remain is not yet settled. Full withdrawal will probably not really happen. -- C)

As Gen. Allen departs, he says the establishing women's rights is key to preventing the Taliban from re-establishing Islamic radicalism in Afghanistan.

However, it seems they have a long way to go. A notorious prison in Kabul holds 196 women convicted of "moral crimes" such as adultery, many with their babies.

Pakistani party leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman makes a "private visit" to Qatar for talks with the Afghan Taliban, who have established a diplomatic office there. The U.S. is said to have been in communication with the Taliban Qatar mission to encourage negotiations with the Afghan government.

U.S. begins preparations for withdrawal  with the establishment of a staging area for military equipment north of the Hindu Kush.

In a somewhat confusing story, 100 workers at a private construction company are poisoned in Kabul. It is not clear whether this is sabotage, food poisoning from the company cafeteria, and industrial accident, or something else.

Mortar attack injures a district chief in Paktiya province.