Some good reads
- The Atlantic has a harrowing piece examining the contradictions of the war in Afghanistan. An Army sniper shot a man who appeared to be carrying an AK-47. When he was brought to the base for treatment, the man’s brother was berated for not standing up to the Taliban more. When he said he can’t do anything more, a soldier accused him of being a liar. The gunshot victim was eventually released.
- We have some new data for the Shindand Bombing: apparently one of the security contractors involved had ties to the Taliban. Unfortunately, so do most security contractors in Afghanistan. Paul McCleary has been posting the most explosive elements of this story. Unfortunately, it’s not terribly surprising, though it’s interesting that everyone still focuses on the Taliban ties of the contractor at Shindand, but not the 30 civilians we killed trying to get at him.
- Speaking of: can we please finally admit that Hamid Karzai is right to be disbanding these contractors? He’s implementing the very DIAG/DDR process the U.S. is trying desperately to unravel.
- Steve Clemons endorses Robert Pape’s new book analyzing suicide terrorism. Pape’s thesis is that garrisoning foreign troops induces suicide terrorism (it’s unclear how he defines “foreign” or develops causation). His solution is the “offshore balancing” idea, which relies on sea power and air strikes to enforce a more limited idea of containment-based security.
- Marjah is failing. There remains fierce fighting in Marjah, the district of Helmand ISAF claimed would become the centerpiece of their new counterinsurgency strategy. Things are so bad the Taliban are jailing and threatening with death Afghan aid workers.
- I have a feature essay up at Current Intelligence, discussing the classification issues in Anthony Shaffer’s Operation Dark Heart.
- Steve LeVine pwns Dan Drezner and argues that Central Asia is a strategically important region.
- Some geographers try to understand water issues in Central Asia.