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

Saturday, January 10, 2015

News of the Day for Saturday, January 10, 2014

(As I've said,  won't be posting here every day but I will try to keep up with events as they merit.)

Remember that new cabinet that was supposed to be announced last week, then Wednesday? Monday is now the official date. We shall see.

Meanwhile, president Ghani apparently offered some government posts to Taliban figures as a way of promoting the peace process, but they refused the offer. These were low-influence posts with little policy relevance, and the three individuals who were offered jobs aren't really active Taliban, they're Taliban associates living openly. Even so.

No real surprise, but hundreds rally in Uruzgan in support of the attack on Charlie Hebdo. However, most political leaders, including president Ghani, condemned the attack.

A protest we hope will have a more positive result is against corruption in Paktia.

I don't get this. Kabul airport will be guarded by Azerbaijani peackeepers. Isn't Afghanistan supposed to be in charge of its own security now?

Eight deminers, working for an international NGO, are abducted in Logar. Overall, attacks on de-miners increased by 50% last year. (Many of the explosions we read about injuring and killing civilians are actually from old ordinance, and the specific victims were not intended targets. Afghanistan is full of mines from decades of war.)

District police chief killed in an ambush in Sar-e-Pul.

Twelve civilians kidnapped in Sar-e-Pul, perpetrators and motive as yet unknown.

Ghani is expected to sign a security pact with Iran. Content is not stated, but sources of irritation between the two countries are drug smuggling, and the treatment of Afghan migrants to Iran. They have a common foe, however, in Sunni extremism.