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, January 12, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, January 12, 2014

Six police are injured in Kabul in suicide attack on a bus. An unspecified number of civilian bystanders are also said to have been "lightly injured" when attacker on a bicycle sets off explosives next to vehicle transporting police from work.

Three employees of the Rural Rehabilitation and Development Directorate are kidnapped in Badghis province. This formerly relatively peaceful area has seen an increase in insurgent activity.

Nineteen insurgents said to renounce violence in western Herat. The government is depending on this amnesty program to further a broader peace process. Apparently, Taliban representatives have been holding secret talks in the UAE with Afghan government ministers, however officials of the High Peace Council say they are unaware of the talks.

Nevertheless, the Transparent Election Foundation of Afghanistan (TEFA) criticizes the security plan for the upcoming elections as "unrealistic" and demands better preparations.

Afghan Journalists Center says there were 84 cases of violence against journalists in 2013. "[G]overnment officials and security forces, Taliban and illegal armed groups were among the perpetrators of media violations."