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, April 5, 2015

Update for Sunday, April 5, 2015

There is considerable confusion about the current state of the Taliban and the prospects for peace talks. Yesterday, NBC reported that Mullah Omar is preparing to enter peace talks, with an implication that Pakistan is sincere in saying that it will no longer harbor the Afghan Taliban and that this may have driven him to negotiations.

Today, however, Khaama reports that he may be dead,  or in any event has delegated authority to Akhtar Mohammad Mansoor; and that the Taliban may have split into three factions, perhaps because of his death. Another possibility is that Pakistan, which has obviously been harboring him, now has him in custody and has incapacitated him.

It is unclear whether all this bodes well or ill for the prospects for peace. Certainly the emergence of factions which no longer answer to Omar or his successors means that a comprehensive peace is not possible. Leaders who have adopted the Islamic State brand are apparently responsible for the kidnapping of 31 Hazaras in February. Meanwhile, a high level of violence continues.

A bomb kills 7 people in Logar.

A bomb near a police station in Kundoz injures 10.

Explosion in Helmand injures 3 soldiers and 3 civilians.

On Thursday, a suicide bomb attack on a protest in Khost killed 17 and injured dozens. Since then, the death toll has risen to 20 and the National Directorate of Security says the Haqqani network was responsible.

A sticky bomb injures an attorney in Kundoz.

100 insurgents storm police outposts in Farah, leading to death of 5 police, 4 militants and a clergyman. Communications in the area were also knocked out by damage to a radio tower.

Motorcycle bomb in Baghlan kills 4, injures 5.

Teachers at Nangarhar university go on strike  because money intended for their salaries was stolen by gunmen on the Kabul-Jalalabad highway, and evidently they have not been paid

Former member of a provincial council in southern Ghazni is injured by a would-be assassin.




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