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

Friday, January 2, 2015

News of the Day for Friday, January 2, 2015

(I'm so accustomed to posting on Sundays that I titled yesterday's post as Sunday. I've fixed it.)

There's a difference, it seems, between what happens when U.S. troops bomb wedding parties, and what happens when Afghan troops do it. Afghan troops arrested for deadly attack on a wedding party in Helmand. It's still not clear what happened, they may have mistakenly responded to celebratory gunfire. People may debate the standards for holding soldiers criminally responsible for battlefield actions, but there has to be accountability.

Afghan MP Fawzia Koofi discusses the status of women in the country. Parliament has so far failed to pass the Elimination of Violence Against Women act (EVAW), although many of its provisions are included in an executive decree. Koofi trust president Ghani, but it is not clear what will happen with the foreign presence greatly reduced.

Increasing presence of armed gangs in Kabul alarms residents.

Explosion kills a border policeman in Jalalabad, injures another.

Mark Thompson in Time discusses the cost  of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to U.S. taxpayers. Spoiler alert - it's between $4 and 6 trillion. The cost of keeping one soldier in Afghanistan for a year is $3.9 million. But we can't afford decent public schools in many places, or affordable higher education.