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

Thursday, July 4, 2013

News of the Day for Thursday, July 4, 2013

Four teenage girls killed by an explosion while fetching water in a village near Lashkar Gah in southern Helmand. As TOLO explains, "Insurgents commonly use Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on roads to target Afghan and NATO vehicles, but often civilians fall victim to them due to their indiscriminate placement in frequently traveled areas."

Also in Lashkar Gah, a female police inspector is assassinated  in a drive-by shooting. This round-up story also reports two schoolboys killed by a roadside bomb in Paktika province.

For some reason, president John McCain is in Afghanistan today.

Rob Crilly, writing for The Telegraph, is pessimistic about women's rights in Afghanistan, the occasion of the assassination of the police inspector in Lashkar Gah today inspiring his thoughts. Excerpt:

There are more girls in school than under the Taliban, more women in the security forces and more laws to protect their safety. Good. Just one problem. In recent weeks and months these gains are not so much looking “fragile and reversible” as disappearing backwards – and fast.

Today’s tragic events in Helmand are just one example. Lieutenant Islam Bibi had survived the anger of her family, who expected the mother-of-three to stay at home, as well as her brother’s death threats to become a police officer. Her rise through the police ranks was frequently cited as an example of how things have changed for women.
Today she died in a hail of bullets, cut down as she left her home.

Three aid workers from the Norwegian Refugee Council are Kidnapped in Herat. The abductees are Afghan nationals; no-one has yet claimed responsibility.