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 7, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, April 7, 2013

Bomb attack on a convoy in southern Afghanistan kills 3 U.S. service members, a U.S. diplomat, and a civilian DoD employee. There are conflicting reports on the nationality of the civilian. This most recent report says he was an Afghan physician. However, most reports refer to 6 Americans killed. The group was on its way to donate books to a school. A convoy carrying the governor of Zabul province to the same event was nearby. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement saying "“She tragically gave her young life working to give young Afghans the opportunity to have a better future. We also honor the U.S. troops and Department of Defense civilian who lost their lives, and the Afghan civilians who were killed today as they worked to improve the nation they love.” This suggest there were additional Afghan casualties, which this report appears to affirm, without giving any number. It also says four state department staffers were injured, one critically. The Telegraph identifies the deceased U.S. diplomat as Anne Smedinghoff, age 25, of Illinois, who served as John Kerry's "control officer" when he visited Afghanistan two weeks ago.

In a separate incident, an American civilian "advisor" is killed fighting in fighting in Kunar province. (I put the word "advisor" in quotation marks because in Iraq, this meant a mercenary. But we have heard much less about the U.S. privatizing military functions in Afghanistan. It is not clear what role this person was playing. -- C)

An Afghan policeman is killed and 3 civilians injured by a bomb attached to a donkey  in Lagham province.

Mirza Ali, Council Chief for eastern Paktia province, is assassinated.

Department of "Well duhhh": Pakistan approved U.S. drone strikes in secret deal struck in 2004, according to a report in the New York Times. (I've linked to Khaama press.) According to the report, the Pakistani intelligence service first agreed to the deal in order to achieve the targeted killing of Taliban leader Nek Muhammad. 

Under the agreement, ISI and CIA agreed that US would never acknowledge the missile strikes under the “covert action authority” and that Pakistan would either take credit for the individual killings or remain silent. This comes as Pakistani officials have long been criticized US for violating its sovereignty through drone strikes however New York Times stated that it was Muhammad’s rise to power that forced them to reconsider their line of thought and eventually allow Predator drones. The covert drone war begun under the Bush administration and was further expanded during president Barack Obama’s leadership under the ISI-CIA “back-room bargain”. CIA changed its focus from capturing terrorists to killing under the deal which helped transform an agency that began as a cold war espionage service into a paramilitary organization, The New York Times added in its report.
I will just add that it has been obvious all along to everyone with one brain cell to rub against another that the ISI knew about, authorized and supported the U.S. drone campaign, and pretended to be outraged for the sake of public opinion. What ought to be most disturbing to Americans, however, is that the U.S. has entered into a secret war with essentially no congressional approval or oversight, or public debate. Few people seem to care. -- C Here is the NYT report.



Dancewater said...

(Reuters) - Eleven children and a woman were killed by an air strike during a NATO operation targeting Taliban commanders in eastern Afghanistan, officials in the region said Sunday.

Civilian deaths have been a long-running source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his international backers. Karzai has forbidden Afghan troops from calling for air strikes and NATO advise crews not to fire at or bomb in populated areas.

Six insurgents - two of them senior Taliban leaders - were killed during the operation in a village in Shigal district in Kunar province, which is on the Pakistani border, on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

The Interior Ministry did not mention any civilian casualties but Wasefullah Wasefi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said civilian homes had been hit during an air attack.

"Eleven children and a woman were killed when an air strike hit their houses," Wasefi said.

Mohammad Zahir Safai, the Shigal district chief, said the woman and the children were killed when the houses collapsed on them.

A Reuters journalist saw bodies of 11 children when they were taken to Safai's office in protest by their families and other villagers on Sunday.

The journalist did not see the body of a women and Safai said residents told him of the death. Women's bodies are not displayed, according to custom.

A much bigger story than the killing of six Americans who are assisting in the immoral occupation of a foreign country, in my opinion

Dancewater said...

Remember all that fracking bullshit about "responsibility to protect" in Libya two years ago? Now, these same bullshiters don't give a shit about Libya.