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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

War News for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

US force in Afghanistan may be cut to less than 10,000 troops

SAPD: Navy senior chief shoots wife, kills self

Pakistan’s most prominent journalist shot by gunman in Karachi

Reported security incidents
#1-2: Two militant attacks in northwestern Pakistan killed eight people, including five policemen, on Tuesday, officials said. Both officers said nearly 20 policemen were wounded in the two attacks.

#1: In one of the attacks, gunmen ambushed a police patrol on the outskirts of the city of Peshawar, killing five policemen and a civilian, said police officer Fazal Wahid. He said the police chased the attackers and killed some of the militants in a shootout.

#2: And in the neighboring Charsadda attack, a bomb rigged to a motorcycle exploded close to a police van, killing two bystanders, said police officer Sharifullah Khan. .

#3: A prominent campaign worker in Afghanistan’s presidential election was shot dead outside his home in the country’s east, officials said on Tuesday. The Taliban denied they were involved in the killing. Campaign worker Esmatullah, who like many Afghan men uses only one name, was returning home from visiting a friend on Monday afternoon when unknown gunmen opened fire outside his house in Logar province, provincial spokesman Din Mohammad Darwish said.

#4: In a roadside bomb attack, a senior administrative official was killed and six civilians were wounded in eastern Nangarhar province, the latest in a string of targeted killing. "The Administrative Rights director of Qarghahi district of eastern Laghman province Mohmood Quraishi was killed in a bomb attack while six civilians were wounded in the blast which took place in Sarrah Road district of neighboring Nangarhar province Tuesday morning," the Nangarhar provincial government spokesman told Xinhua.

#5: A local journalist was shot dead in Mianwali town of Punjab. Motives behind his murder are yet to be ascertained, SAMAA reported. Police said Shahzad Iqbal and his brother were on their way on a motorbike when unidentified gunmen intercepted the bike and opened fire on them in Mianwali town.

#6: At least three fighters were killed and three others wounded when the security forces lunched a counterstrike against the insurgents who attacked a police checkpoint in Momand Dara district of eastern Nangarhar province, an official said Tuesday. Two border officials were also injured in the battle, a border police commander, Brig General Wali Khan Shinwari told Wakht News Agency. He said militants attacked a police checkpoint of fifth battalion at about 2am [last night] but faced harsh counterstrike leaving three fighters dead and four others wounded.

#7: At least 12 Taliban militants were killed and 9 others were injured during counter-terrorism operations in Afghanistan.

Monday, April 21, 2014

War News for Monday, April 21, 2014

Pakistani Journalist Targeted, Shot by Militants

335 NATO bases transferred to Afghan security forces

Reported security incidents
#1: Up to 29 Taliban militants were killed while 11 others wounded in a series of military operations across Afghanistan since early Sunday, said the country's Interior Ministry on Monday.

#2: At least three people were killed and one injured on Monday when armed motorcyclists began firing indiscriminately in Quetta, capital of Pakistan's Balochistan province, police said. Armed motorcyclists began firing indiscriminately at a Land Cruiser, killing on the spot the two people who were inside the vehicle, Dawn online reported citing Superintendent of Police Imran Qureshi.

#3: According to local authorities in southern Kandahar province of Afghanistan, unknown gunmen have shot dead a provincial council candidate in Quetta city of Pakistan. Provincial governor spokesman, Dawa Khan Meenapal said the provincial council candidate Shah Mahmood Jalali was assassinated on Saturday.

#4: One Afghan soldier was killed in a bomb attack, said the country's Defense Ministry on Monday.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

News of the day for Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sticky bomb injures 7 employees of Ministry of Agriculture in Kabul. Two are in critical condition. No claim of responsibility as of now.

Afghan army claims to have killed Taliban "governor" of Kandahar and 3 subordinates.

Fars reports U.S. airstrike kills 4 people in Parvan. (No corroboration of this as of now and Fars is not always reliable on these stories. We'll see.)

Karzai appoints a panel to review the ISAF prison at Bagram. Not entirely clear what the agenda is here.

Iran hangs 6 Afghan nationals on drug smuggling charges. [No indication of it here but in the past Afghans have claimed Iran trumps up these charges against economic migrants.]

Defense Ministry says 2 Afghan soldiers and 18 insurgents killed in various operations in past 24 hours. [As always, no corroboration for the body count or claim that the dead were all armed insurgents. There are never any reported casualties to civilian bystanders. At least the Defense Ministry, unlike the Interior Ministry, does occasionally report casualties of government personnel.]

Saturday, April 19, 2014

War News for Saturday, April 19, 2014

Army Pulling Helos from National Guard

Government to hold fresh talks with Taliban negotiators

Reported security incidents
#1: Six Taliban insurgents were killed Saturday in a blast in Afghanistan's eastern province of Ghazni, police said. "A local Taliban leader named Mullah Saddiq, along with five militants, was killed after improvised explosive devices (IEDs) they were building went off prematurely in Khoshak locality of the provincial capital Ghazni city in the morning," Xinhua Saturday quoted Asadullah Insafi, deputy provincial police chief, as saying.

#2: Meanwhile, two militants were killed and six wounded in the country's northern Sari Pul province during a military operation conducted by the army earlier Saturday.

Friday, April 18, 2014

War News for Friday, April 18, 2014

The DoD is reporting the death of Spc. Kerry M. G. Danyluk who died at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany on Tuesday, April 15th. He was wounded from a small arms weapons attack in Pul-e-Alam, Logar province, Afghanistan on Saturday, April 12th.

Reported security incidents
#1: An official says three Taliban insurgents escaped from a prison in northern Afghanistan using weapons smuggled into the facility in a jailbreak that killed three police guards. A spokesman for the Faryab provincial government, Ahmad Jawad Dedar, said on Friday that the breakout took place the previous night. A fourth inmate who was also trying to escape was killed in a shootout with security forces.

Taliban militants attacked a prison with rockets in Afghanistan's northern Faryab province and set free four inmates, police said on Friday. "A group of Taliban rebels targeted the prison in the provincial capital Maimana with four rockets late Thursday, enabling four militants to escape," Xinhua quoted Mohammad Naeem Andarabi, deputy head of provincial police, as saying. He also confirmed that the rocket attack and clash with militants had left two police and a Taliban fighter dead.

#3: A security man was killed and two others were injured Friday as militants targeted a security forces’ vehicle in an explosion on Frontier road on the outskirts of Peshawar.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

War News for Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pakistani Taliban snub cease-fire extension

Army to assist civil govt in polio eradication campaign

Reported security incidents
#1: gunmen kidnapped Ahmad Shah Wahid, the deputy minister of public works, as he was travelling in his car to work, officials said. No group has taken responsibility for Wahid's kidnapping, but abduction is a lucrative business in impoverished Afghanistan and scores of Afghans and foreigners have been captured and money demanded in return for their release.

#2: A group of Afghan policemen were kidnapped Wednesday while traveling in civilian clothes, and the Taliban later claimed they had killed seven of them. In a statement emailed to journalists, the militants said they had killed the policemen in an ambush in the Said Abad district of Wardak province, and that they found documents on the policemen that showed they were members of the Afghan Civil Order Police, an elite police unit. Ataullah Lodin, a spokesman for the governor of Wardak province, said authorities there had reported that a dozen of the officers had been kidnapped by insurgents.

#3: Up to 18 Taliban insurgents were killed while seven others wounded in Afghan army operations within the last 24 hours, the country's Defense Ministry said Thursday morning.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

War News for Wednesday, April 16, 2014

4159 detainees released from Bagram prison: Gen. Farooq

Reported security incidents
#1: An Afghan policeman has opened fire and wounded a female lawmaker in the country's capital, Kabul, during what authorities described as a "dispute" between the two.

#2: An Afghan provincial government spokesman has alleged that a NATO airstrike killed at least three civilians and injured another in Afghanistan's Khost province Tuesday. Helicopters fired at houses in Khost's Nadershahkot district early Tuesday, killing a woman and two children and injuring a man, said Mubarez Zadran, spokesman for Khost's governor.

#3: Pakistani security forces attacked militant hideouts with helicopter gunships in North Waziristan after one of its men was injured in a blast, media reported on Wednesday.

#4: Firing rockets by Pakistani army from across the Durand Line on the eastern provinces have destroyed six houses and perished several livestock in eastern Kunar and Nangarhar provinces, a border police force chief in the eastern region said Tuesday. The source said the shelling which began late on Monday lasted till morning Tuesday, dozens of rockets had slammed in two parts of Kunar, Paktika and Nuristan provinces.

#5: At least eight civilians including children were killed or injured following an explosion in southern Zabul province of Afghanistan. According to local government officials, the incident took place in Shahr-e-Safa district late Tuesday. Gen. Rogh Lewanai said the incident took place after a vehicle struck with an improvised explosive device.