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, December 7, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, December 7, 2014

One Afghan soldier is killed and 3 are injured by a mine in Kandahar. Officials blame the Taliban.

U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan kills 5 militants, including one Umar Farooq, who is said to have been the commander of al Qaeda operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

A second drone strike in Kunar province is said to have killed 9 Pakistani Taliban.

Unknown attackers toss a hand grenade at a wedding party in Balkh, killing 4 and injuring 12.

Taliban attack a police outpost in Helmand province, killing 5. Taliban casualties are unknown.

Afghan security forces rescue 5 police who were taken prisoner a month ago in an attack on outposts in Warduj, Badakhshan. A total of 20 personnel were captured at that time; efforts are underway to rescue the remaining 15.

Outgoing U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel makes an unannounced visit to Kabul on Saturday. Hagel and president Ghani speak at a press conference, don't say anything particularly revalatory.

Senior Taliban commander Latif Mehsud is returned to Pakistan. He was captured by U.S. forces last year. This is part of a prisoner exchange signaling better relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. [However, this tale is odd. It appears the U.S., who held him, flew him to Islamabad. This suggests the U.S. is now more willing to trust the Pakistanis, but what it has to do with Af/Pak relations is not clear to me. -- C]

WaPo's Sudasan Raghavan discusses the bad security situation  on the Kabul-Jalalabad road, the "Valley of Death."