Note: DoD has reversed the decision to classify SIGAR reports on the status of Afghan forces. Information about specific units will still be classified, but the overall numbers and condition of forces will remain public. I do not, however, attribute this to the awesome power of Today in Afghanistan.
Also, based on new legislation, the army has approved Purple Hearts for victims of the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood. The perpetrator was acting on his own, but the new legislation allows the award because he had been in communication with a foreign organization.
Returning now to Afghanistan, Protesters block the Kabul-Jalalabad highway for 7 hours demanding an end to theft of land by armed gangs, to which they say the government has been indifferent.
Pakistani Taliban commander Omar Khalid Khorasani is inured in Nangarhar in an operation by Afghan security forces, but he is not captured and is said to be recovering in a safe place. [Interesting that Pakistani Taliban are in Afghanistan while Afghan Taliban have harbored in Pakistan.]
Pro-Taliban radio stations are broadcasting from Pakistan.
However, increasing military cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan suggests that the Pakistanis may no longer give shelter to Afghan Taliban.
But, the Taliban win favor from the population by providing effective civil justice, while government courts are corrupt and inefficient:
Western officials have long considered a fair and respected justice system to be central to quelling the insurgency, in an acknowledgment that the Taliban's appeal had been rooted in its use of traditional rural justice codes. But after the official end of the international military mission and more than $US1 billion in development aid to build up Afghanistan's court system, it stands largely discredited and ridiculed by everyday Afghans. A common refrain, even in Kabul, is that to settle a dispute over your farm in court, you must first sell your chickens, your cows and your wife.
Thousands of undocumented Afghans have been fleeing Pakistan in the face of persecution, apparently inspired by the December attack on a school in Peshawar. Although the perpetrators were Pakistani, foreigners seem to be the targets of anger. Many of these people have resided in Pakistan for decades and do not have homes in Afghanistan to which to return.
Militants blow up a girls' school and a health clinic in Kunar. The school is totally destroyed.
Afghanistan imports most of its electricity. What you may not have known is that Logar, Paktia and Ghazni provinces don't have any. The government now promises they will get it within 2 years.
And the war goes on.
In Iraq, the decade-old curfew in Baghdad ends but 37 people are killed in bombings on the same day.