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, January 25, 2015

Update for Sunday, January 25, 2015

Afghan ambassador to Pakistan announces Pakistan will repatriate 1.6 million Afghan refugees, based on an agreement among the countries and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. However, there does not appear to be any timeline for the process.

At the same time, Pakistan is arresting and apparently deporting unregistered refugees.

Generally, relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan appear to be thawing, with high level military contacts and evidence that Pakistan will no longer support Afghan insurgents. NATO is trying to faciliate increased cooperation between the two countriesHowever, it appears India is skeptical of this and is concerned about its investments in Afghanistan as foreign troops leave.

Since I'm not posting every day, of course we are no longer recording all reported security incidents. But just to reflect the general level of violence I will link to recent reports on days I do post.

Car bomb near Kabul airport (now renamed after Hamid Karzai) injures 2, results in temporary closure of the airport.

Motorcycle bomb injures 2 police, 1 civilian in Panjwaee, Kandahar province. This same report says police found 2 bodies elsewhere in Kandahar, their killers unknown; and discusses the appearance of IS in Zabul and Helmand. (Seems a bit of a non-sequitur but there it is.)

 Two border police killed, 2 injured by an explosion in Jalalabad on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, gunmen kill a police officer in Lashkargah.

Protest grow in Zabul and Farah against depictions of the prophet by the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.

Ghani accedes to parliament and will replace cabinet nominees with dual citizenship.

Cabinet nominees are presenting their platforms to parliament in pursuit of votes of confidence. Parliament will hear all the nominees before starting to vote.

From our friend Chet, a CNN feature on depression and suicide by military and veterans' spouses and family members.