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, June 1, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, June 1, 2014

Only known U.S. POW in Afghanistan, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, is freed in exchange for 5 prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. Bergdahl was captured nearly 5 years ago and is believed to have been held by the Haqqani Network. President Obama, accompanied by Bergdahl's parents, said "While Bowe was gone, he was never forgotten. The United States of America does not ever leave our men and women in uniform behind.” The trade was brokered by the government of Qatar, which will accept the prisoners from Guantanamo. The circumstances of Bergdahl's capture are unclear. It has been reported that he left his base unarmed, without authorization. However, U.S. officials have denied Taliban claims that he was a collaborator. He is currently at Bagram Field for evaluation and will return home via Germany.

Taliban say the 5 released men will live with their families in Qatar.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, in Afghanistan on a surprise visit, meets with the special forces team that accepted Bergdahl from his captors. Hagel will hold talks with commanders regarding the readiness and capability of Afghan forces.

Two children killed, 1 injured by an IED in southern Kandahar province.

Four Taliban are said to have been killed in Kunar Province in what is called a "public uprising."

Interior Ministry outdoes itself this time, claiming 34 Taliban killed in past 24 hours, as usual with zero government or civilian casualties. [Given this extraordinary, unblemished record of martial success over the past two years I can't imagine why Hagel is in any way concerned about the readiness of Afghan forces. They are obviously invincible, invulnerable, and inerrant. -- C]

Taliban attack Pakistani positions near the Afghan border, prompting Pakistani airstrikes inside Afghanistan which Afghan officials say killed 5 civilians.

Update: Reuters has more details on the release of Bowe Bergdahl, who as of noon EDT is in Landstuhl. Predictably, Republican politicians are criticizing the deal with the Taliban and the release of Taliban prisoners. But Ronald Reagan, as is apparently forgotten, gave sophisticated weapons to Iran in part to win the release of hostages held in Lebanon. Since Afghan forces claim they kill 25 to 30 Taliban every day, five more are going to be less than 20% of one day's attrition -- probably not that big of a deal.


Anonymous said...

While your dogging Republicans:

From Bowes Brothers In regards to the night he defected:

We were at OP Mest, Paktika Province, Afghanistan. It
was a small outpost where B Co 1-501st INF (Airbone) ran operations out of, just an Infantry platoon and ANA counterparts there. The place was an Afghan graveyard. Bergdahl had been acting a little strange, telling people he wanted to "walk the earth" and kept a little journal talking about how he was meant for better things. No one thought anything about it. He was a little “out there”. Next morning he's gone. We search everywhere, and can't find him. He left his weapon, his kit, and other sensitive items. He only took some water, a compass and a knife. We find some afghan kids shortly after who saw an american walking north asking about where the taliban are. We get hits on our voice intercepter that Taliban has him, and we were close. We come to realize that the kid deserted his post, snuck out of camp and sought out Taliban… to join them. We were in a defensive position at OP Mest,
where your focus is to keep people out. He knew where the blind spots were to slip out and that's what he did. It was supposed to be a 4-day mission but turned into several months of active searching. Everyone was spun up to find this guy. News outlets all over the country were putting out false information. It was hard to see, especially when we knew the truth about what happened and we lost good men trying to find him. PFC Matthew Michael Martinek, Staff Sgt. Kurt Robert Curtiss, SSG Clayton Bowen, PFC Morris Walker, SSG Michael Murphrey, 2LT Darryn
Andrews, were all KIA from our unit who died looking for Bergdahl. Many others from various units were wounded or killed while actively looking for Bergdahl. Fighting Increased. IEDs and enemy ambushes increased. The Taliban knew that we were looking for him in high numbers and our movements were predictable. Because of Bergdahl, more men were out in danger, and more attacks on friendly camps and positions were conducted while we were out looking for him. His actions impacted the region more than anyone wants to admit. There is also no way to know what he told the Taliban: Our movements, locations, tactics, weak points on vehicles and other things for the enemy to exploit are just a few possibilities.
The Government knows full well that he deserted. It looks bad and is a good propaganda piece for the Taliban. They refuse to acknowledge it.
Hell they even promoted him to Sergeant which makes me sick. I feel for his family who only want their son/brother back. They don’t know the truth, or refuse to acknowledge it as well. What he did affected his family and his whole town back home, who don’t know the truth. Either way what matters is that good men died because of him. He has been lying on all those Taliban videos about everything since his “capture”. If he ever returns, he should be tried under the UCMJ for being a deserter and judged for what he did. Bergdahl is not a hero, he is not a soldier or an Infantryman. He failed his brothers. Now, sons and daughters are growing up without their fathers who died for him and he will have to face that truth someday

Cervantes said...

I acknowledged the suspect circumstances of his capture -- what that has to do with Republicans I don't get.