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, September 15, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, September 15, 2013

Female police lieutenant Negara is shot on her way to work in Lashkar Gah. She is hospitalized but is expected to survive. Her predecessor, Islam Bibi, was assassinated in July. The Taliban often attack prominent women, but conservative male relatives may as well.

Roadside bomb kills 2 police, injures 3, in eastern Laghman province.

Twenty seven coal miners are killed in a mine collapse in Samangan province. Twenty people are said to have been injured attempting rescue. It appears the mine is government owned, but operated by a private contractor.

Student at a religious school in Logar is kidnapped and later found murdered. No motive is proposed in the report.

However, in a similar incident in Ghazni the student was accused of cooperation with police. His bullet riddled body had a note attached making the accusation.

A Pakistani major general, a lieutenant colonel, and an enlisted man are killed in an explosion near the Afghan border.

The Afghan Interior Ministry claims 64 Taliban killed in the past 24 hours. As usual, this claim is uncorroborated, non-specific, and accompanied by no acknowledgment of any Afghan government or civilian casualties. (I pass these along only because somebody might accuse me of ignoring them. However, I suggest that you do so. -- C)

Meanwhile, in Iraq, a wave of bombings, mostly in Shiite areas, killed 35 people on SundayThe head of the Baghdad provincial council escapes assassination  but the attack kills 2 people.

A Lebanese newspaper claims that equipment for the manufacture of chemical weapons has been moved from Syria to Iraq. This is consistent with claims by Free Syrian Army commander Salim Idriss, who the newspaper backs. However, there is no corroboration and the Iraqi government denies it. Israeli and U.S. sources also dismiss the claim, according to the Times of Israel. I note this because we will likely be hearing more of this sort of thing.