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, July 27, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, July 27, 2014

District Police Chief Bismillah Jan of Registan, Kandahar province, is killed along with 5 guards in an attack on his home. Spokesman says 7 attackers also killed. The same spokesperson also says 24 militants and one police officer killed in a separate attack on a check post in Zherai district. [As usual, one has to question such a highly asymmetrical casualty total.]

In another attack in Spin Boldak, militants enter a school next to the home of provincial police commander General Abdul Razziq, and fire on his house. Six attackers are ultimately killed along with a civilian and a border police officer. In this account, however, the police chief of Registan was killed by a roadside bomb. [Fog of war. Most accounts accord with the home attack version.]

Four civilians are killed and 4 injured by a motorcycle bomb in Helmand.

Pakistan artillery fire into Kunar province destroys a home and leaves a 13 year old boy in critical condition.

NYT's Azam Ahmed says Taliban are making territorial gains. Excerpt:

Taliban fighters are scoring early gains in several strategic areas near the capital this summer, inflicting heavy casualties and casting new doubt on the ability of Afghan forces to contain the insurgency as the United States moves to complete its withdrawal of combat troops, according to Afghan officials and local elders. The Taliban have found success beyond their traditional strongholds in the rural south and are now dominating territory near crucial highways and cities that surround Kabul, the capital, in strategic provinces like Kapisa and Nangarhar.

Their advance has gone unreported because most U.S. forces have left the field and officials in Kabul have largely refused to talk about it. The Afghan ministries have not released casualty statistics since an alarming rise in army and police deaths last year.
 [As readers know, I have been noting the complete absence of army and police casualties in Interior Ministry reports all year. Since we know these reports are bogus, I will link to them only for purposes of mockery. -- C]

Mullah Omar seems to agree. Saying he believes the Taliban are winning the war, "In his Id message, posted on Taliban website, Omar said that the Taliban will continue fighting, adding, “We believe the war in Afghanistan will come to an end when all foreign invaders pull out of Afghanistan and a holy Islamic and independent regime prevails here.” Omar's whereabouts are said to be "unknown," but he is evidently being sheltered by Pakistani intelligence.

UpdateAinuddin Khudairaham, convicted of killing 3 U.S. Marines in August, 2012, is sentence to 7 1/2 years in prison. The light sentence results from a finding that he was under 18 at the time of the attack, and is the maximum sentence for juveniles under Afghan law. The Marines were training Afghan police at Forward Operating Base Delhi in Helmand province. As Kudairaham lacks a birth certificate, his age was estimated by means of a bone scan. Killed were Staff Sgt. Scott Dickinson, 29, of San Diego; Cpl. Richard Rivera Jr., 20, of Oxnard and Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr., 21, of Oceanside, N.Y.