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, August 17, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, August 17, 2014

Eleven de-miners are abducted in Ghazni province, on the road from Kandahar to Kabul. Their whereabouts are unknown.

Pakistani military fires 126 rockets into eastern Kunar province, according to the local police. Although the report in Khaama does not mention any damage, Tolo reports 3 houses destroyed.

The center for prevention of Malaria and Leishmaniasis in Kabul (which is actually a treatment facility) is attacked with a rocket, which strikes a vehicle parked in the yard. Officials fear that people will not come for treatment out of fear of further attacks.

A recount of 6,000 ballot boxes designated by the candidates begins. The results are expected to be decisive. Each candidate was allowed to select 3,000 ballot boxes that they believed may have been originally miscounted in their opponent's favor.

Ministry of the Interior rejects the recent SIGAR report on the disappearance of tens of thousands of weapons, claiming that "precise and accurate information is available with the ministry regarding the weapons and other equipment supplied to Afghan police forces. The statement further added that the ministry uses latest tools and equipment to keep record of the weapons and military equipment including vehicles supplied, disappeared and depreciated." [I presume this is similar to the tools and equipment they use to report that dozens of Taliban are killed every day with zero government and civilian casualties. Yes, they issued another such report today, I won't link to it.]

Afghan troops rescue three Indian engineers who had been abducted by Taliban in Logar. However a fourth Indian national remains in captivity.

Afghan government is running out of cash and will have difficulty paying salaries next month. According to this story, by some unclear mechanism, the disputed presidential election has deprived the government of revenue. In fact the government is dependent on foreign donations.

And meanwhile in Mespotamia, U.S. warplanes support peshmerga in an effort to retake the Mosul dam. Note that president Obama has stated that the only role of U.S. air power in Iraq will be to protect U.S. facilities and personnel. I suppose you could stretch that to cover this action since, if the dam were to collapse, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad would be flooded.