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 8, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, June 8, 2014

91 bodies recovered after flooding in Baghlan, with toll feared to be more than 100.

Defense Ministry says 5 militants killed in operations in past 24 hours, including 4 Pakistanis. No word on government casualties.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry continues to multiply the carnage, claiming 74 militants killed in past 24 hours, as usual with zero government or civilian casualties. The Taliban are obviously so utterly inept and incapable of defending themselves it is astonishing they have not long since surrendered.

Pakistani military fires 32 rockets into Afghanistan's Kunar province, continuing a recent pattern of repeated cross-border artillery and violations of Afghan airspace.

In an essay which will reward your attention, Omer Aziz in The Diplomat discusses the role of Pakistan's Directorate of Interservices Intelligence in sustaining the Afghan insurgency. In his view -- which is widely shared -- ISI is deeply involved in the Afghan insurgency with the long-range goal of control over an anarchic Afghan territory. That the U.S. treats Pakistan as an ally and supplies it with military aid is, under the circumstances, quite bizarre. A central quote:

As is well known, the Afghan Taliban were themselves a creation of the ISI, and a de facto proxy by the time they took over Kabul in 1996. In 1999, Benazir Bhutto’s minister of interior, Nasrullah Babar admitted it quite explicitly, pronouncing, “We created the Taliban.”

Today, the “Talban” are a hodgepodge of militant outfits, though the central leadership of the Afghan Taliban is thought to be in Quetta, Pakistan. For the ISI, there may be a chickens coming home to roost moment, as Pakistan faces a brutal insurgency within its own borders that has adopted the Taliban name but is in many ways far more rejectionist and hostile to the governing authorities. To give just one example, the Afghan Taliban support polio vaccination while the Pakistani Taliban vow to kill anyone offering such treatments. The ISI’s game of prolonging the post-9/11 insurgency in Afghanistan long enough for the tired American leviathan to pack up and go home – and for Pakistan to move in more forcefully – is the direct cause of this terrorist surge, which has taken over 50,000 lives. There are now three separate but interrelated insurgencies eating at the Pakistani state like overfed parasites: the sectarian Sunni jihad against Pakistan’s Shia population, the Balochi insurgency, and the gangsterism and religious extremism destroying Karachi. When exporting militancy is a state’s central foreign policy tool, it does not take long for the pawns to turn their guns on their masters.

. . . A report leaked in 2006 by the British Defense Ministry stated, “Indirectly Pakistan (through the ISI) has been supporting terrorism and extremism.” The report went so far as to link the ISI to the 2005 London bombings, in addition to the various insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. A 2012 NATO study based on 27,000 interrogations of 4,000 captured Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters concluded that the ISI provided safe havens to the Taliban, monitored their movements, manipulated their fighters, and arrested those thought uncooperative.

Parents of recently released POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl receive death threats.

Meanwhile, Sgt. Bergdahl has told people treating him in Germany that he was tortured, beaten, and held in a cage after he attempted to escape.

The Afghan economy (such as it is) is collapsing, as the U.S. withdraws, parliament fails to pass an adequate regime of banking regulation, and investors flee.


Dancewater said...

hope they don't make good on the death threats.

so many people in this country are just evil.