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, May 5, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, May 5, 2013

An Afghan soldier kills 2 ISAF service members in Western Afghanistan.

Five U.S. soldiers are killed by a roadside bomb in Maiwand, Kandahar on Saturday.

On German soldier is killed and one injured in fighting in Baghlan province. The soldiers called for air support during the incident and it is presumed that some insurgents were also killed but there is no specific information as yet. It seems the Germans were members of the "KSK" special forces "anti-terror" unit. (I.e., any Muslim who is fighting against westerners is by definition a "terrorist," even if they are soldiers on a battlefield.)

Four civilians are killed, 5 injured by a roadside bomb in Farah province.

ISAF says it has captured a senior insurgent leader named Jamal in Baghlan province. This seems unconnected to the incident in which the German soldier was killed.

President Karzai says Afghanistan does not recognize the Durand line, that is the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan originally drawn between British India and Afghan Amir Abdur Rahman Khan in 1893. This is in the context of recent border clashes and emphasizes the continuing tension between the two countries. Karzai also appears to encourage the Taliban in the border region to attack Pakistani troops, if I read this correctly.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, Pakistani troops kill 16 insurgents, suffering 2 deaths of their own, near the Afghan border.

Iraq Update: Khalid Mahmoud, writing for Asharq Al-Awsat, reports on growing calls for secession in the Sunni Arab regions.  However, this does not appears to be a popular position as of yet; continuing protests are demanding political and social equality from the Shiite-led regime.