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, August 9, 2015

Update for Sunday, August 9, 2015

U.S soldier killed yesterday in the attack on Camp Integrity is identified as Master Sgt. Peter A. McKenna Jr., 35, of Bristol, Rhode Island, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.‎ Master Sgt. McKenna's death is attributed to small arms fire, meaning he was killed by the attackers after the bomb attack on the gate gained them admittance.

Our friend Chet offers additional information from the local newspaper

Meanwhile, in a somewhat murky story from Kunduz province, a suicide bomber kills 29 people, mostly members of illegal militias. The district administrative chief described the target as a "meeting of criminal groups." The Taliban took responsibility for the attack. Apparently the Taliban and the government had a common enemy here.

Two civilians are killed by a roadside bomb in Kandahar.

Taliban hang a woman in Badakhshan on charges of adultery.

Ten people described as militants are killed by a drone strike in Nangarhar.  Afghan military also claims to have killed 20 militants in two separate battles. As is typical, no government casualties are mentioned.

In contrast to the New York Times, which finds the carnage in Kabul on Friday night to be evidence of the effectiveness of the security forces (really, see yesterday's post), Xinhua offers a somewhat more credible point of view:

"Launching the three deadly attacks right in the heart of Kabul city is unprecedented and has clearly demonstrated the weakness of security organ of the government," Sayed Ibrahim Darwishian, a Kabul University professor and political analyst, told Xinhua on Saturday. . . .

Darwishian and other Afghan political watchers said the Taliban have been emboldened because of lax security in the capital which got worse after the departure of most of the foreign troops from the country late last year. He said that if the security apparatus was adequate and security people were alert, they could have prevented the explosive-laden truck from entering the city.
 Actually you don't need to be a professor at Kabul University to figure that out.