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, September 28, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sticky bomb attached to a military truck in Zanbaq square, near the presidential palace, injures the driver.

Five police killed when their vehicle hits an IED in Maidan Wardak province.

Taliban launch an offensive in eastern Nangarhar.

Pakistani journalist Faizullah Kahn, who had been sentenced to four years in prison for illegal entry into Afghanistan, is freed and will return home. His arrest and sentence had been protested by journalist organizations.

In a development which has received surprisingly little attention, the Afghan government will be unable to meet its payroll next month. The treasury will be unable to write paychecks to hundreds of thousands of civil servants. [One wonders what will happen to the loyalty of the security forces if they are not paid.]

Ashraf Ghani will be inaugurated as the second president to hold power under the present constitution on Monday. Ghani has promised to sign a security agreement with NATO which will allow 12,500 foreign troops to remain next year. He has also promised to institute merit-based civil service hiring. [Of course, that won't mean much if he can't pay them.]