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, June 16, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, June 16, 2013

Three civilians are killed by a roadside bomb in Uruzgan. No group has claimed responsibility for the incident. Other accounts give the death toll as 4, in what appears to be the same incident.

Taliban leader Motasim Agha Jan tells TOLO the Taliban are ready to negotiate for peace. He says they do not want to seize power but will accept the results of elections. He also implies that he represents a "moderate" faction and that there is a faction which is not prepared to negotiate.

In a somewhat omninous speech to the Afghan parliament, Minister of Information and Culture Sayed Makhdoom Raheen says he will shortly disclose the names of media organizations and journalists that are "insulting the country's respected personalities and their broadcasting is un-Islamic." There appears to be considerable controversy in parliament over the basic principle of media freedom.

The final phase of talks to complete a U.S.-Afghan security agreement will begin in a few days.

A review of "Investment in Blood," by Frank Ledwidge: "Frank Ledwidge was a “justice adviser” in Britain’s para-colonial administration in Helmand. As well as spending 15 years as a naval reserve officer, he once practised as a barrister – and it shows. In a closely argued book, he produces a devastating indictment of the utter, unanswerable folly of Britain’s military intervention in southern Afghanistan. If those of us complicit in the error were ever brought to justice, this would be the case for our prosecution." He alleges that Britain did not even attempt to count the civilian casualties from the intervention; and that the enormous expenditure of treasure in Afghanistan was for no good purpose at all.

Hamid Karzai endorses Pakistani president Prime Minister (of course) Nawaz Sharif's call for an end to U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan.

A mob attacked a doctor and his female patient in Sar-I-Pul, after it was found that he had treated her without a chaperone present. There are conflicting reports over whether the doctor was stoned to death, or had escaped with injuries.