From the AFPAK Channel today, the first three paragraphs describe three separate but related news bits that show the difficulty of "winning" in Afghanistan.
Insurgents carried out a suicide car bomb-led attack against the headquarters of the elite Afghan National Civil Order Police in Kandahar this morning, killing three U.S. soldiers, an Afghan officer and five civilians (NYT, BBC, AP). The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, which is similar to two recent attacks at Bagram and Jalalabad where suicide car bombers detonated their explosives, allowing follow-up gunfire from militants. And armed residents of a Ghazni village repelled a Taliban attack yesterday (CNN).
More details emerged about Tuesday's attack by an Afghan non-commissioned officer that killed three British soldiers, including the company commander in charge of the base and two members of the Royal Gurkha Rifles who died when a rocket propelled grenade struck their command center (Tel, AJE, AFP, Independent).The Afghan soldier, believed to be named Talib Hussein, reportedly fled to a Taliban-controlled area after the attack, and a Taliban statement claimed Hussein had joined the group. The attack is leading some in the United Kingdom and the United States to question the exit strategy for Afghanistan, which is predicated in part on the build-up of Afghan security forces (Guardian).
On Monday, Haji Zahir, the lead local official in Helmand's Marjah who a senior U.S. military official called "Mr. Right Now, not Mr. Right," was replaced by the Afghan government without explanation(Wash Post).
Then there is yet another problem that ties into Pakistan, from the same post:
Gen. David Petraeus is reportedly working to designate top leaders of the Haqqani network as terrorists, a move that would complicate not only the United States' relationship with Pakistan but also the Afghan government, currently discussing negotiations with insurgent groups (NYT, Dawn). In a press conference yesterday Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) called for both the Haqqani network and the Quetta Shura, another of the three main Taliban factions, to be blacklisted (Wash Post).
The alert reader may notice that two words are missing from the above: "al" and "Qaeda".
The reader who was paying attention in 2007 also will remember that the Iraq surge actually started working from the get-go, unlike the current Afghanistan surge.
Doesn't the U. S. have enough problems at home? Can't the hard-working men and women of the military and the extensive support system for them strengthen the U. S. from within? Aren't drones and local hired hands enough?
We have always been at war with Eastasia . . .
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