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 31, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, August 31, 2014

Explosion in Pul-e-Alam, Logar, kills 3 police and 2 civilians. The explosion is said to have targeted "a compound of the local militia" and caused an unknown number of non-fatal casualties. [I assume this means the local self-defense force the U.S. organized in many places on the model of the Iraqi Shawa councils.]

Two Afghan soldiers killed by roadside bomb, but the defense ministry gives no details, including the location. MoD also says six "terrorists" were killed in 3 different locations in the past 24 hours. Whether this means Taliban or some other group is unknown. Khaama says in this story that 4 Afghan troops are killed per day, on average. Most of these (obviously, if you read this blog) are not specifically publicly reported.

Three people are arrested in connection with the rape of four women in Kabul. The police chief, in discussing the case, says crime has increased dramatically in the capital, which he attributes to the dire economic circumstances. [That could contribute to some forms of crime, but rape is not an economic crime.]

Yes, the Afghan economy is collapsing as international aid and spending by ISAF declines. Afghanistan has essentially depended economically on the occupation.

Afghan Minister of Defense may attend the NATO summit in Wales if (as seems likely) the country does not have a president by September 4.

Back in Iraq, the two-month seige of the town of Amerli is broken as Iraqi troops and Shiite militias enter the town after U.S. air strikes against IS forces. The population consists mostly of Shiite Turkmen.


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