News of the Day for Wednesday, October 14, 2015

It turns out that 14 years is not nearly long enough. White House officials tell the New York Times Obama is likely to abandon his plan to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan. (I linked to New York magazine's cover of this because of the NYT subscription policy which may exclude some readers.) He is apparently giving in to pressure from many in the foreign policy establishment. According to the report, he is contemplating reducing U.S. forces to 5,000 from the current 9,800, tasked mostly with fighting al Qaeda and the Islamic State. [Again, really a breakaway faction of the Taliban.]

Returning residents of Kunduz continue to face food shortage.

Taliban overrun two police posts in Helmand province and kill 29 border police, including 8 who were taken prisoner.

UN official warns of a deteriorating humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, saying current relief funding is half of what is needed, with 130,000 people newly displaced this year.

The Taliban have threatened TOLO and 1TV over their reporting on Taliban atrocities, most notably reports of rapes in Kunduz. The linked story reports the Wolesi Jirga condemning these threats. They also continue to accuse Pakistan of being behind the Afghan Taliban.  Here is an interview with Tolo founder Saad Mohseni about the threats. [I frequently link to Tolo. They support secular, constitutional government in Afghanistan but are not afraid to criticize government corruption and failure. One unquestionable gain for Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban has been a flourishing independent media.] Bakhtar weighs in with a defense of free press. Here is a statement by the International Federation of Journalists.

Contrary to several earlier reports, and somewhat inexplicably, a new survey says that opium production has sharply decreased. [The source and reliability of the data is not given, however. It is very difficult to accurately track illegal activities, obviously.]

The Kabul-Kandahar highway continues to be blocked, stranding hundreds.

UPDATE: Andrew Quilty, in Foreign Policy, presents a photo essay of the destroyed MSF hospital. Note that he observed the burned remains of numerous people, presumably many of those so far unaccounted for. The death toll is undoubtedly well above the 23 confirmed so far. Note also, this is what happens any time a building is attacked by an AC-130. We just usually don't get to see it.


Source : warnewstoday[dot]blogspot[dot]com
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