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 3, 2015

News of the Day for Saturday, January 3, 2015

Just a few items worth passing on today. First, do you see any irony here?

ISLAMABAD, Jan 3 (KUNA) -- At least eighteen rebels were killed in air strikes by foreign forces in southeastern Paktika province of Afghanistan on Saturday, said police. . . .

The air strikes came at a time when Taliban rebels have paced up their attacks on security forces following drew back of NATO/ISAF forces from Afghanistan handing over the security control to Afghan forces.

So, no U.S. combat role except for . . . oh, bombing.

Although local warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum recently announced that thousands of militants would soon be surrendering in his fiefdom of Jowzjan, the reality appears to be otherwise. "But now according to the local officials, the insurgents have rather boosted their activities and that in the Turkmenistan border, raising deep concerns for both the countries." A large-scale military operation is planned in the area.

Delays in filling cabinet posts and other government vacancies  have left public agencies in disarray.

In one province, police officials have been fired and not replaced despite a rash of violent crime. In another, frustrated parents are calling their legislators to get copies of school records. In the capital, no phones were answered at one federal ministry last week — an unusual occurrence even by lax Afghan standards. In another ministry, idle office workers made a video of one another dancing in the halls, which was later shown to a reporter.
Azam Ahmed in the NYT discusses the state of the Afghan Taliban. In a pistachio shell, the movement has become fragmented. The first generation of military leadership has largely been replaced, and factions differ in their ideology. In some areas, they are less severe in their rule; not so in others.

 In Iraq, the turmoil continues. Islamic state abducts 170 civilians from two northern villages where people burned the IS flag. (This will not turn out well for them.) U.S. led coalition continues air strikes, but this report reminds us of the rather odd political context. The pentagon reports 12 strikes in Syria, while Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve reports separately on 11 stries in Iraq. In other words these are not technically the same operation. In an apparent sectarian attack, three Sunni clerics were murdered in Basra on Thursday.


anatta said...

"So, no U.S. combat role except for . . . oh, bombing"

I've noticed a much more editorial
slant to this blog.

I would assume anyone that comes here regularly understand the "new" US role?
no matter the utterances by Obama?

Again-thanks for keep this place open

Cervantes said...

I do plan to adopt a more visible point of view, yes.

Anonymous said...

Well, 6 viewers have dropped due to the personal "visible POV". Still wishing you success and thanks for the years I have followed.

Cervantes said...

Our POV has always existed -- see the banner at the top of the page. I still intend to be factually accurate and give both the good and bad news.