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

Thursday, May 22, 2014

War News for Thursday, May 22, 2014

Royal Marine found guilty of murdering Afghan fighter has sentence reduced

Reported security incidents
#1: Taliban fighters kidnapped 27 police officers during an assault on a northeastern province in Afghanistan, authorities said today. Gen Fazeluddin Ayar, the police chief in Badakhshan province, said that the 27 officers were hiding in a cave during the Taliban attack yesterday in Yamgan district. The Taliban took the officers hostage and police have launched an effort to try and find them, Ayar said.

Insurgents ambushed several police checkpoints in Badakhshan province, killing at least six police officers in Yamgan district, Ayar said yesterday. The fighting started late Tuesday and lasted till yesterday. Reinforcements were sent to the site, but the police were forced to pull back from the area and were fighting the Taliban forces from surrounding mountains as army helicopters flew overhead, Ayar said. Five insurgents also were killed, and three policemen were wounded, he added.

#2: Pakistani forces on Thursday launched their first major offensive in years against Taliban militants near the Afghan border after several rounds of government-led talks aimed at ending an insurgency in the remote region failed. The offensive targeted the Matchis Camp near the capital of North Waziristan, an area set up to house Afghan refugees but now a hub for local and foreign militants, Siraj Ahmed, the highest government official in the region, told Reuters by telephone.

#3: Gunmen on Wednesday killed a teacher and five members of his family in Balochistan province, officials said, adding that separatist rebels were believed to be responsible. The attack happened in the Panjgour district. Balochistan is home to a long-running separatist conflict that was revived in 2004, and teachers are reportedly targeted both by nationalist organizations and security forces on suspicion of spying.

#4: Villagers in the southern province of Zabul Tuesday found the decapitated bodies of eight local policemen who were seized two weeks ago, deputy provincial governor Mohammad Jan Rassoulyar told AFP. The policemen were snatched by militants after an attack on their convoy. "Their bodies were discovered in Nawbahar district and we have sent elders to bring them to Qalat (the provincial capital)," he said, adding they were beheaded on Tuesday and found soon afterwards.

#5: Eleven insurgents and four army troops were killed on Wednesday evening in a bloody clash between security forces and Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan rebels in the restive Pakistani region of North Waziristan, military officials said. The fighting broke out after rebels attacked an army convoy near Mir Ali, the second largest town of the lawless region, said the Inter Services Public Relations - the Pakistani army’s media outlet - in a press statement on Wednesday.

#6: A bomb blast rocked Afghanistan's Ghazni city on Thursday, leaving a dozen people dead or injured, local official Shafiq Nang said.

#7: A bomb blast rocked Pashtunkot in Faryab province 425 km northwest of Kabul on Wednesday, killing one civilian and injuring 10 others on Wednesday, a police spokesman in the province Sayed Mahmoud Yaqubi said. A bomb planted by militants next to a shop in Takhta bazaar of Pashtunkot district went off at around 10:00 a.m. local time today, killing one civilian on the spot and wounding 10 others, some of them in critical condition," Yaqubi told Xinhua.

#8: At least four Taliban militants were killed following a drone strike in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan, local officials said Wednesday.