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, May 11, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, May 11, 2014

Car bombing in front of a hospital in Daman, southern Kandahar province kills 5 civilians and injures 39 people including 3 Afghan soldiers. According to the Afghan Times, the soldiers were distributing aid; but Khaama merely describes the target as a convoy of Afghan and Coalition forces.

ISAF service member dies in a non-combat incident in northern Afghanistan. No further information as of now.

Interior Ministry says 55 Taliban killed in a military operation in Farah province. As is normally the case with IM announcements, there is no mention of government or civilian casualties. (For those of you too young to remember, this "body count" style of reporting is reminiscent of the U.S. public affairs style in Vietnam. We know how that turned out.)

The Defense Ministry does admit to 2 soldiers killed and also claims 90 militants killed in various operations. Whether you find this credible is up to you.

Hezb-e-Islami Shura endorses Ashraf Ghani, saying he is the most inclusive candidate for president, while third-place finisher in the first round of voting Zalmai Rassoul endorses Abdullah, also touting him as representing all the people. (Most observers see the Rassoul endorsement as more important.)

Afghan Foreign Affairs Ministry calls on Iran to review its executions of Afghan nationals and presses for an agreement that will end the practice. (As readers will recall, Iran often puts migrants to death accusing them of drug smuggling; whereas their families claim they were merely economic migrants. This has been a major source of friction between the two countries.)

Insurgents abduct 9 mine workers in Herat province. (Since I know of no particular religious or political objection to marble mining this is likely a kidnapping for ransom.)