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, November 10, 2013

News of the Day for Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pentagon report to Congress suggests a stalemate in the Afghanistan conflict. On the one hand, the rate of insurgent attacks has declined overall, and population centers are more secure. On the other hand, Afghan government forces are suffering more casualties, and the Taliban has consolidated its control of some rural areas.

A local official says that 45 militants have laid down arms in Baghlan province and "resumed normal life." The government claims that a total of 4,000 militants have given up armed struggle in the past year, a number which the Taliban disputes.

National Directorate of Security claims arrest of a Taliban commander in Kandahar province. He is said to have led a cell of 12 men.

NDS also claims arrest of 4 mine planters in Nangarhar.

Fighting in Helmand leaves seven militants and three police dead. A separate clash in the province is said to have resulted in death of four Taliban and one Afghan soldier, with twelve Taliban and eight government forces injured.

The 1.6 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan do not want to return, given the insecurity and severe poverty of Afghanistan. Pakistan has repeatedly extended the deadline for their repatriation, which is now December, 2015.