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, March 10, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, March 10, 2013

Prominent Afghan actor Nazar Mohammad Majnonyar Helmandi is killed by a NATO airstrike as he is being held by militants. According to his brother, Helmandi had gone to a town near Lashkargah to visit his ailing sister when he was seized on suspicion of spying for the government, and he was being interrogated when the attack occurred. (His films have concerned the conflict against the drug trade and insurgency.) Three insurgents were also killed in the attack.

President Karzai says that a university student was seized and interrogated by an armed group working for the CIA. Karzai says he intervened with the CIA to obtain the young man's release, and that he has banned "foreign forces" from universities. Anonymous sources confirmed to AP that the CIA has trained "an Afghan counterterrorist force." The Reuters report further suggests that abuse and arrest of university students by this shadowy force is commonplace. The Council of Ministers issued a statement saying, "We notify the international coalition force's leadership to avoid such acts which are against Afghanistan's national sovereignty."

Karzai further accuses the U.S. and Taliban of collusion. He says they are holding negotiations in Qatar without Afghan involvement; and furthermore that the motive for ongoing Taliban attacks is to provide a pretext for U.S. forces to remain in the country. Karzai said in a speech that "The blasts indeed show support for the Americans to stay in Afghanistan after 2014. Yesterday's bombings in Khost and Kabul were not aimed at showing their strength to the USA but to serve the USA." (Whoa! One is inclined to think that when the history of this conflict is written, it won't resemble the official story being channeled to us by the corporate media today. -- C)

U.S. Central Command removes reports of drone strikes from its monthly air power summaries. "

Last October, the Air Force began releasing the monthly totals of strikes in Afghanistan in an effort to give the public more information on its overseas operations. But the move appears to have been reversed. The February numbers released March 7th just contain empty boxes for the drone strike data, and all of the previous data has also been deleted from older press releases on the site," according to Khaama.