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 18, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, May 18, 2014

Four Afghan soldiers are killed in an explosion, however so far MoD has provided no further information about the incident including the location.

One student is killed and 2 injured by a roadside bomb while on their way to school in Kunar province.

Interior Ministry says a group of militants are arrested before they can carry out a planned attack in Kabul.

Khaama's Mirwais Jalalzai discusses the problem of opium cultivation and heroin production in Afghanistan, including a call from Russia's director of the Federal Drug Control Service for coordinated international leadership of the effort against opium cultivation in Afghanistan. [As this would insult Afghan sovereignty, I do not see it as a realistic proposal. -- C] A recent U.S. report says opium cultivation in Afghanistan is now at record highs, and that heroin addiction in Afghanistan has exploded. Russia is also seriously affected. Jalalzai notes that "Afghanistan is responsible for about three-quarters of the world’s heroin production, with much of it being cultivated in the Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the south of the country. However, the US has concentrated most of its efforts in the east of Afghanistan, which has relatively little poppy production, as it is safer than working in the south."

Report say Iran is hiring impoverished Afghans to fight on behalf of the Syrian government. Afghan members of parliament react angrily to the news.

Four Afghan police in Kandahar are sentenced to death for murder in a kidnap for ransom plot.

Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction John Sopko says that Afghanistan will continue to receive $10 billion annually after the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops. The U.S. has spent more on Afghan reconstruction than on any nation in history, including Germany following WWII.

Command Sgt. Maj. Martin R. Barreras died Tuesday at Joint Base San Antonio of injuries suffered on May 6 when his unit was attacked by small arms fire in Afghanistan.