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, October 12, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, October 12, 2014

Attackers wearing police uniforms enter a police HQ in northern Balkh province, kill 2 police and injure 9 before they are killed.

Attack on a police checkpoint in Kunduz results in death of 4 attackers and 1 police officer, according to the district governor.

Attack on a police outpost in Kunar results in deaths of 2 police and 12 insurgents, with 2 police and 6 insurgents injured, according to the local police chief. (As always, we have no corroboration for the reported casualty totals. The Taliban have yet to comment on these latest incidents, but they typically report more government casualties and fewer of their own.)

Here's the usual Ministry of the Interior BS. If you believe them, they've killed the entire Taliban force two or three times by now, with zero government casualties. They used to kill about 27 every day, now it's up into the fifties. Whatever.

A more plausible account from the Defense Ministry says that 5 Afghan soldiers and 17 militants were killed  in the past 24 hours. (Add to that the deaths of 5 police reported above.) The five soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb, the location not disclosed.

A U.S. drone strike is said to kill 4 people in Shawal, North Waziristan  near the Afghan border.

A second drone strike on the border between Khyber and Nangarhar also kills 4, said to include Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.

Several Afghan senators warn they will vote against the security agreement with the U.S. if shelling of Afghan territory from Pakistan continues. I'm not quite sure of the logic of this, but apparently they think the U.S. could make it stop if they wanted to.

And sure enough, 70 rockets are fired into Kunar province from Pakistan.

Your tax dollars at work. U.S. spends $486 million to buy 16 transport planes for the Afghan air force from Italy, ends up selling them to a scrap metal dealer for $32,000.

Meanwhile, the situation in Iraq is deterioratingA triple car bombing in a Kurdish town near Jalawla kills at least 20, injures 60. A roadside bomb kills the Anbar police chiefKurdish forces are holding on in Kobane in northern Syria, but IS renews attack on Baiji in Iraq.