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, April 14, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, April 14, 2013

Four police officers killed (apparently) and 6 abducted in Jawzjan province. This story is confusingly written but what it appears to say is that a Taliban commander who had recently been released from prison led an attack on a police checkpoint. There is an intimation of insider collusion but it is not explained. It is unclear whether the 4 dead were among the 6 abducted, or in addition to them.

Two Italian soldiers are injured in an IED attack in Herat province. (I am usually reluctant to link to Fars which is not always reliable, but I have found confirmation for this and the Fars presentation is the cleanest I could find.) From other sources, it appears the injuries were not severe.

Rocket attacks on NATO airbase in Nangarhar reported. I could not find more detail information about damage or casualties.

An investigation ordered by president Karzai finds that a NATO air attack on April 6  in Kunar province killed 17 non-combatants, including 12 children. The airstrikes were called in after an American civilian "adviser" was killed. Karzai condemns the use of air power in residential areas, but adds condemnation of the Taliban for taking shelter in civilian houses. The U.S. has so far not acknowledged the civilian deaths.

Severe unemployment threatens Afghanistan's stability. According to government sources at least 500,000 jobs are needed as NATO troops plan to withdraw, and much foreign spending and aid disappears with them.

Meanwhile, food prices are spiking.

Development projects in Khost have failed.

ISAF announces arrest and killing of various insurgents, including killing two people in (an apparently unsuccessful) search for an insurgent leader in Panjwa'i, Kandahar.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, militants blow up the election office of a secular party in North Waziristan.

In other news, our old friend Iraqi blogger Riverbend has broken her silence of many years with a post noting the 10th anniversary of the fall of Baghdad to U.S. forces. She is safe in an unnamed Arab country (having fled for a second time, from Syria), but despairs of the state of Iraq today. Indeed, a candidate for provincial office was assassinated today, bringing the number killed so far to 14.  Twelve worshippers were killed in an attack on a mosque in Baquba. A leading member of the Iraqiya party, former finance minister Rafi al-Issawi has resigned from the government, saying "The Iraqi government will not last long. Maliki has exploited democracy to build a dictatorship." I will continue to follow Iraq here on Sundays; as far as the U.S. corporate media are concerned, the country has dropped off the earth.


Dancewater said...

Thanks for the Iraq update and link to Riverbend.

Quite the sad story, but good to see that she is okay.