Military Official Predicts More Suicide Attacks in Afghanistan

But the Taliban’s attempts to undermine faith in the country’s government aren’t working.

A US army soldier with the 101st Airborne Division Alpha Battery 1-320th prepares to launch a drone outside Combat Outpost Nolen in the village of Jellawar in The Arghandab Valley on September 4, 2010. US military commanders in Afghanistan are developing a strategy that would tolerate limited corruption but target large-scale abuses, The Washington Post reported late September 3, citing unnamed senior defence officials, the newspaper said Pentagon officials had concluded that the Taliban insurgency was the most pressing threat to stability in Afghanistan rather than corruption. The United States has almost 93,000 troops in the country, who along with 48,000 NATO soldiers are battling a Taliban-led insurgency.
National Journal
Jordain Carney
Jan. 23, 2014, 1:39 p.m.

A top mil­it­ary of­fi­cial said Thursday that he ex­pects to see an in­crease in sui­cide bombers in Afgh­anistan.

“I would ex­pect more sui­cide-type, high-pro­file, spec­tac­u­lar at­tacks,” said Lt. Gen. Mark Mil­ley, the com­mand­er of the In­ter­na­tion­al Se­cur­ity As­sist­ance Force Joint Com­mand and serves as the deputy com­mand­ing gen­er­al for U.S. forces in Afgh­anistan. ISAF is a NATO group com­prised largely of U.S. forces.

A ex­plo­sion killed at least 16 people in a Ka­bul res­taur­ant earli­er this month. The at­tack comes as Taliban vi­ol­ence in the cap­it­al has de­creased in re­cent months.

And those at­tacks, Mil­ley be­lieves, will likely tar­get Afghan se­cur­ity forces, ci­vil­ians, and ISAF and U.S. troops. Afgh­anistan has al­most 350,000 se­cur­ity forces, which in­cludes po­lice and mil­it­ary of­fi­cials.

But Mil­ley said the at­tacks aren’t un­der­min­ing Afghan sup­port for the coun­try’s mil­it­ary or gov­ern­ment, which he said polling and in­tel­li­gence sug­gest a vast ma­jor­ity of cit­izens sup­port.

The U.S-Afghan re­la­tion­ship has been strained since Afghan Pres­id­ent Ham­id Kar­zai re­fused to sign a bi­lat­er­al se­cur­ity agree­ment with the United States last year. Mil­ley largely sidestepped ques­tions about get­ting a BSA signed, say­ing it would be “in­ap­pro­pri­ate”¦ to put out dead­lines.”

“I would tell you that we have a base plan, and everything that we have planned is built upon an as­sump­tion that an agree­ment will be reached,” Mil­ley ad­ded.

For now, forces will start to ship their fo­cus to help­ing Afghan se­cur­ity forces with func­tion­al — rather than com­bat or tac­tic­al — ad­vising, which he said in­cludes help­ing build the in­sti­tu­tion­al frame­work of the coun­try’s se­cur­ity forces.

“Tac­tics an army does not make,” Mil­ley said, but noted that at the tac­tic­al level NATO and U.S. of­fi­cials are “pretty much sat­is­fied.”

Afghan forces “clearly held their ground” dur­ing the most-re­cent sum­mer fight­ing sea­son, he said, but ad­ded that “we have got to con­tin­ue to build the in­sti­tu­tions to en­sure that this se­cur­ity force can con­tin­ue to stand on their own, and then that se­cur­ity force provides the shield to buy the time and space for the rest of this so­ci­ety to de­vel­op.”

What We're Following See More »
WEST WING REDUX
Allison Janney Takes to the Real White House Podium
7 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Carolyn Kaster/AP

STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
9 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
10 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
13 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
×