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, February 16, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, February 16, 2014

IED explosion kills a municipal worker in Kandahar city.

Afghan National Directorate of Intelligence says it seized a large weapons cache in Kapisa province, including rockets, RPGs, and an anti-aircraft weapon, among others.

The Interior Ministry goes back to the copying machine and says the usual 28 militants were killed in the past 24 hours. Also as usual, no mention of government or civilian casualties. Believe what you will.

India says it will supply Afghanistan with helicopters, although the announcement does not specify the number or type. (Out of curiosity,  I determined that India manufactures some transport helicopters, mostly in collaboration with France. Its armed military helicopters are Russian, actually Soviet era. The announcement implies these will be non-lethal equipment.)

Al Jazeera reports on a recent spate of attacks on candidates and campaign workers. These incidents, mostly in Herat, are unsolved.

NYT'S Azam Ahmed reports on the battle for control of Highway 1, which links Kabul with other major cities. This is seen as a key test for the Afghan army.

UpdateAP reports a NATO service member killed by an IED on Saturday. This has not been widely reported and is not on the ISAF web site as of now. No further information as of noon ET.