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, March 30, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, March 30, 2014

At least one Romanian soldier is killed and two injured in a suicide attack on a NATO convoy in Zabul province, on the Kabul-Kandahar highway. Three civilians are also injured.

Seven militants are killed in an accidental explosion while manufacturing bombs in Ghazni province. Their workshop was located in a mosque. The Interior Ministry, in a statement, condemned the use of religious places for such purposes.

The Interior Ministry issues the usual statement that 21 militants were killed in various operations in the past 24 hours. As usual, there were no government or civilian casualties associated with any of these operations. (I just link, you decide.)

How do you say "deep doo doo" in Italian? An Italian man is caught by Afghan police attempting to smuggle 1.3 kilograms of hashish and opium through Kabul airport. (My advice: Don't do it.)

Indian movie star Salman Khan visits an Afghan woman being treated in Mumbai after having been shot in the face by her husband. As we have noted here many times, violence against women is commonplace in Afghanistan and often carried out with impunity. Shakila Zareen is undergoing reconstructive surgery after her husband attacked her with a shotgun. Said Khan, whose family left Afghanistan some generations back, "They follow Islam, they say. But they don't follow any religion. All they believe is in dominating women, unlike Islam, which talks so much about women's power and their rights."

In a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Hamid Karzai accuses Pakistan of backing recent attacks in Afghanistan, in an effort to thwart peace talks. Pakistan denies the accusation, while on the other hand the Taliban deny they are negotiating. However, Pakistani intelligence does have a relationship with the Afghan Taliban and has been credibly linked to some past attacks; while some Taliban officers have been talking with Afghan government representatives.