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 24, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, March 24, 2013

IED in southern Kandahar province kills 4 children, injures 2. The device was apparently intended to attack security forces.

Meanwhile, over the border in the Taliban sanctuary of North Waziristan, a suicde attack kills 17 Pakistani soldiers, setting two oil tankers ablaze and destroying two army barracks.

Afghan officials claim the capture of 20 Taliban in Panjwai, southern Kandahar. According to officials, the detainees had recently returned after training in Pakistan.

Afghan president Karzai will travel to Qatar in connection with opening there of a Taliban political office. The visit is at the invitation of the Qatari government. It is not clear from this story how much direct contact he will have with Taliban negotiators, or what the substance of that might be. It appears the main goal is to clarify arrangements for the Taliban political office with the Qatari government.

Afghan politician Ismail Khan, currently Minister of Energy and Water, condemns the upcoming security agreement with the U.S.

Speaking in Herat at the ninth anniversary of his son's death, Ismail Khan said that the US-led foreign forces had achieved nothing in the past 12 years, in fact, they were the reason for the rising insecurity in the country. Ismail Khan, who is also the former governor of western Herat province, said such an agreement with US or any other country will only lead to a continuation of war and insecurity in Afghanistan.

Such pacts would hold Afghanistan back from self-sustainability and the country would remain dependent on other nations for many more years, he said. "We shouldn't sign a document by which we would remain dependent, wandering, miserable and at the same time have no other option but to accept foreigners. We shouldn't sign this pact."

After considerable friction and delay, U.S. and Afghanistan sign pact handing over control of Bagram prison. "The agreement, reached after a week of intensified negotiations between U.S. and Afghan officials, calls for the formal transfer to take place on Monday and includes assurances that inmates who pose a danger to Afghans and international forces will continue to be detained under Afghan law."

Editor's note: The tenth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has been the occasion for massive self-justification and excuse-making on the part of the war's supporters, who in general have paid no price for their evil or folly; and much frustration on the part of the war's opponents over the latter fact. I haven't felt I had anything to add to that, but I must say that it was trivially easy for me to determine, within one day, that every single factual assertion Colin Powell made in his infamous presentation to the UN Security Council was verifiably false. This was widely reported in the European press. Yet the New York Times and the Boston Globe were unable to discover it, even though I and many others wrote to them with the information. The curtain of censorship that fell over North America for the first years of the Iraq war was the major impetus for the creation of this blog, and my own participation. The corporate media is nearly as credulous today, alas. I hope we don't have to move on here from Afghanistan to some other insane war, but maybe we should be taking a look already at Yemen and a couple of other places. -- C


Dancewater said...

I was incredulous watching the response in the US corporate media to Powell's speech.

It was very easy to disprove every thing he said.

I figured out in 2002 that Iraq had no WMDs, and I had a six year old computer and a dial-up AOL connection. All it took was some reading and some critical thinking.