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 9, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, June 9, 2013

President Karzai demands that British forces hand over all Afghan prisoners they hold by June 22. (UK forces hold prisoners in Helmand province.) However, legal challenges in British court to the transfer, based on allegations of mistreatment in Afghan prisons, will cause long delays. This sets the stage for months of confrontation between the Afghan and British governments.

Meanwhile, Karzai has left for Qatar with a high-level delegation to attend the 10th annual U.S.-Islamic World Forum. While he is there, he is expected to talk with Qatari officials about the prospect of opening negotiations with the Taliban through their office in Doha.

Germany opens a consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif. Germany has troops in the relatively peaceful northern part of the country and plans to leave some 600 to 800 there after 2014.

Pakistan hosts a trilateral meeting in Lahore with U.S. and Afghan top military leadership to discuss border security. No word on any outcome from the meeting, or even what specifically they talked about.

Anna Badkhen discusses the continuing oppression of Afghan women  and the failure of Western humanitarian aid and political engagement to make a meaningful difference.