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, November 23, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Wolesi Jirga (lower house of parliament) overwhelmingly approves Bilateral Security Agreement with U.S. and the Status of Forces Agreement with NATO. The agreement allows U.S. forces to be stationed in Kabul, Parwan, Balkh, Kandahar, Paktia, Herat, Nangarhar and Helmand provinces, and exempts foreign troops from Afghan law.

Khaama press has a slightly different vote count, for some reason, and incorrectly calls the vote "unanimous" although there were a few no votes. President Ghani now calls for Senate approval.

Drone strike is said to kill 6 militants in Nuristan province.

District chief and 3 other police are injured by a roadside bomb in Enjil, Herat province.

Taliban attack a police outpost in Ghazni, killing 3.

Three ANA soldiers are killed in a bomb attack but MoD gives no specifics.

Three Taliban killed in a gun battle in Faryab.

Reuters has details on Obama's announcement that U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan will continue in 2015. According to Afghan commanders, Afghan forces are not capable of defeating the Taliban on their own. "The Taliban said it is undeterred by the U.S. announcement. 'They will continue their killings, night raids and dishonour to the people of Afghanistan in 2015. It will only make us continue our jihad,' Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujajhid said."

Update: Suicide bomber attacks the crowd at a volleyball match in Paktika province.
 At least 45 people are reported killed, 50 to 70 injured, some in critical condition. The attacker is said to have arrived on a motorcycle. Although public safety officials were present, most of the casualties are said to be civilians.