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, March 6, 2015

Update for Friday, March 6, 2015

John Sifton, in Foreign Policy, discusses the atrocities committed by the U.S. funded, trained, advised and otherwise supported Afghan Security Services, as documented by Human Rights Watch. Many of the units are actually private warlord armies, operating under color of the state. Just a small sample:

In Paktika province in the country’s southeast, for example, HRW documented the case of ALP commander Azizullah, who only goes by one name, who detained and tortured a teacher for 11 days in the summer of 2012. “You must tell us that you are Taliban, that you have weapons,” Azizullah’s men told the teacher. “It is very easy for us to kill you.” Azizullah has worked closely with U.S. Special Forces, accompanying them on patrols and raids. Although the United Nations, according to information provided to Human Rights Watch, documented nine separate incidents of abuses by Azizullah’s forces from 2008 through early 2010, he has never been investigated by the Afghan authorities, let alone prosecuted.

Abdul Hakim Shujoyi, a militia leader in central Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province, became an ALP commander in 2011 at the insistence of U.S. forces. He personally murdered civilians, including a rampage in July 2011 when he shot dead 7 villagers and set fire to their crops. After a further attack in which he killed at least 9 civilians in 2012, the Ministry of Interior issued a warrant for his arrest. Nevertheless, he remains at large, apparently protected by senior government officials.

For what it's worth, the accused deny the charges.

We're supposed to forget all about it, but yes, U.S. troops are still being deployed to Afghanistan, to, you know, train, advise and support the Afghan security forces.

And it looks like there will be more of them, doing it for longer, than earlier promised.

TOLO exposes child labor in Afghan coal mines

This is a nice demonstration by men in Kabul  in support of women's rights. But there were only 20 of them. We'll see what happens to the status of women in Afghanistan under Ghani. (My prediction is that there will be slow progress in Kabul and among the more educated, cosmopolitan elites; but the traditional culture in the hinterlands won't be changing fast.)

We'll take a look at Iraq tomorrow.