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, October 13, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, October 13, 2013

Man wearing an Afghan army uniform shoots at U.S. troops in Sharana, Paktika province, hitting two and apparently killing at least one, although as of now there is no official announcement.

Taliban kill two children, 8 and 10 years old, in Kunar, accusing them of "espionage."

Rocket attack on a market in Nuristan kills 7, injures 10.

Two civilians are injured by an explosion in Helmand province.

President Karzai responds to claims by Russian foreign minister Lavrov that Syrian militants are being trained in Afghanistan. Specifically, Lavrov says that members of the Al-Nusra front are being trained in the use of chemical weapons in areas of Afghanistan not controlled by the government. Karzai says he will investigate.

Karzai and U.S. Secretary of State agree on most elements of a security agreement, but Karzai does not accept a U.S. demand that it retain legal jurisdiction of its troops that remain post-2014. Karzai says that a Loya Jirga (council of elders) must approve it. This would be a deal-breaker for the U.S. if the council rejects the provision.