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 9, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, November 9, 2014

Suicide bomber attacks office of the Kabul police chief, killing one officer and injuring six. The office is on the third floor of the heavily fortified police headquarters. The Taliban have claimed responsibility. The New York Times has a more detailed account, and also reports on two additional attacks, one a bomb attack on an army bus which appears to have injured at least one civilian. Details of the third are not yet available.

U.S. forces are destroying temporary structures at Bagram air base as they prepare to leave. So far they have demolished 1,800 buildings. More permanent buildings will be retained for use by the smaller force that remains.

The splintered remains of each building are scooped into dumper trucks that make endless journeys back and forth to a tipping site on the edge of the base.

Dubbed “Mount Trash-more” after Mount Rushmore ― the U.S. mountain carved into the faces of former presidents ― the dump is opened to Afghan companies who salvage what they can from the debris.
Ministry of Defense claims 16 Taliban killed in Helmand, makes no mention of government or civilian casualties.

Three militants manage to kill themselves while planting an IED in Wardak province.

Meanwhile, back in liberated Iraq, amid amid a spate of car bombs in Baghdad which killed a reported total of 31 people, one of the dead is said to be a British citizen. According to this account, he was actually the attacker, but more mainstream media have yet to report this. U.S. Central Command says it carried out airstrikes against a meeting of IS leaders in Mosul. There are rumors that IS leader Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi was killed, but there is no confirmation.Britain's Chief of Defence Staff warns, however, that the death of any individual will have little effect on the viability of the organization. Iraqi forces are attempting to retake the town of Baiji and are said to have entered the center of the city. Recapturing the town would be a step toward re-opening the country's largest oil refinery, which is nearby and under siege.